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ST. John's hou^k, ci.f.kkenweli. road, e.c. 














Ilospes em/?i, et collcgistis Me. 




















B. M. V. 

NOV. 21, 1 8,2. 


THE view taken of a University in these Discourses 
is the following : — That it is a place of teaching 
universal knowledge. This implies that its object is, on 
the one hand, intellectual, not moral ; and, on the other, 
that it is the diffusion and extension of knowledge rather 
than the advancement. If its object were scientific and 
philosophical discovery, I do not see why a University 
should have students ; if religious training, I do not see 
how it can be the seat of literature and science. 

Such is a University in its essence, and independently 
of its relation to the Church. But, practically speaking, 
it cannot fulfil its object duly, such as I have described 
it, without the Church's assistance ; or, to use the theo- 
logical term, the Church is necessary for its integrity. 
Not that its main characters are changed by this incor- 
poration : it still has the ofiftce of intellectual education ; 
but the Church steadies it in the performance of that 

Such are the main principles of the Discourses which 
follow ; though it would be unreasonable for me to ex- 
pect that I have treated so large and important a field 
of thought with the fulness and precision necessary to 
secure me from incidental misconceptions of my meaning 
on the part of the reader. It is true, there is nothing 


X Preface. 

novel or singular in the argument which I have been 
pursuing, but this does not protect me from such mis- 
conceptions ; for the very circumstance that the views I 
have been delineating are not original with me may lead 
to false notions as to my relations in opinion towards 
those from whom I happened in the first instance to 
learn them, and may cause me to be interpreted by the 
objects or sentiments of schools to which I should be 
simply opposed. 

For instance, some persons may be tempted to com- 
plain, that I have servilely followed the English idea of 
a University, to the disparagement of that Knowledge 
which I profess to be so strenuously upholding; and 
they may anticipate that an academical system, formed 
upon my model, will result in nothing better or higher 
than in the production of that antiquated variety of 
human nature and remnant of feudalism, as they consider 
it, called "a gentleman."* Now, I have anticipated this 
charge in various parts of my discussion ; if, however, 
any Catholic is found to prefer it (and to Catholics of 
course this Volume is primarily addressed), I would have 
him first of all ask himself the previous question, what 
he conceives to be the reason contemplated by the Holy 
See in recommending just now to the Irish Hierarchy 
the establishment of a Catholic University ? Has the 
Supreme Pontiff recommended it for the sake of the 
Sciences, which are to be the matter, and not rather of the 
Students, who are to be the subjects, of its teaching ? 
Has he any obligation or duty at all towards secular 
knowledge as such ? Would it become his Apostolical 
Ministry, and his descent from the Fisherman, to have a 
zeal for the Baconian or other philosophy of man for its 

• VU. Hubers English Universities, London, i5>43, vol. ii., part i, pp. 
VI, etc. 

Preface. xi 

own sake ? Is the Vicar of Christ bound by office or by- 
vow to be the preacher of the theory of gravitation, or 
a martyr for electro-magnetism ? Would he be acquit- 
ting himself of the dispensation committed to him if he 
were smitten with an abstract love of these matters, how- 
ever true, or beautiful, or ingenious, or useful? Or rather, 
does he not contemplate such achievements of the intel- 
lect, as far as he contemplates them, solely and simply 
in their relation to the interests of Revealed Truth ? 
Surely, what he does he does for the sake of Religion ; 
if he looks with satisfaction on strong temporal govern- 
ments, which promise perpetuity, it is for the sake of 
Religion ; and if he encourages and patronizes art and 
Science, it is for the sake of Religion. He rejoices in 
the widest and most philosophical systems of intellectual 
education, from an intimate conviction that Truth is his 
real ally, as it is his profession ; and that Knowledge 
and Reason are sure ministers to Faith. 

This being undeniable, it is plain that, when he sug- 
gests to the Irish Hierarchy the establishment of a Uni- 
versit}'^, his first and chief and direct object is, not science, 
art, professional skill, literature, the discovery of know- 
ledge, but some benefit or other, to accrue, by means of 
literature and science, to his own children ; not indeed 
their formation on any narrow or fantastic type, as, for 
instance, that of an "English Gentleman" may be called, 
but their exercise and growth in certain habits, moral or 
intellectual. Nothing short of this can be his aim, if, as 
becomes the Successor of the Apostles, he is to be able 
to say with St. Paul, "Non judicavi me scire aliquid inter 
vos, nisi Jesum Christum, et hunc crucifixum." Just as 
a commander wishes to have tall and well-formed and 
vigorous soldiers, not from any abstract devotion to the 
military standard of height or age, but for the purposes 

xll Preface. 

of war, and no one thinks it any thing but natural and 
praiseworthy in him to be contemplating, not abstract 
qualities, but his own living and breathing men ; so, in 
like manner, when the Church founds a University, she 
is not cherishing talent, genius, or knowledge, for their 
own sake, but for the sake of her children, with a view to 
their spiritual welfare and their religious influence and 
usefulness, with the object of training them to fill their 
respective posts in life better, and of making them more 
intelligent, capable, active members of society. 

Nor can it justly be said that in thus acting she sacri- 
fices Science, and, under a pretence of fulfilling the duties 
of her mission, perverts a University to ends not its own, 
as soon as it is taken into account that there are other 
institutions far more suited to act as instruments of 
stimulating philosophical inquiry, and extending the 
boundaries of our knowledge, than a University. Such, 
for instance, are the literary and scientific "Academies," 
which are so celebrated in Italy and France, and which 
have frequently been connected with Universities, as 
committees, or, as it were, congregations or delegacies 
subordinate to them. Thus the present Royal Society 
originated in Charles the Second's time, in Oxford ; such 
just now are the A^hmolean and Architectural Societies 
in the same seat of learning, which have risen in our own 
time. Such, too, is the British Association, a migratory 
body, which at least at times is found in the halls of the 
Protestant Universities of the United Kingdom, and the 
faults of which lie, not in its exclusive devotion to science, 
but in graver matters which it is irrelevant here to enter 
upon. Such again is the Antiquarian Society, the Royal 
Academy for the Fine Arts, and others which might be 
mentioned. This, then, is the sort of institution, which 
primarily contemplates Science itself, and not students ; 

Preface. xili 

and, in thus speaking, I am saying nothing of my own, 
being supported by no less an authority than Cardinal 
Gerdil, " Ce n'est pas," he says, " qu'il y ait aucune 
veritable opposition entre I'esprit des Academies et celui 
des Universites ; ce sont seulement des vues differentes. 
Les Universites sont etablies pour ejiseigner les sciences 
aux Aleves qui veulent s'y former ; les Academies se 
proposent de nouvedes rechercJies a faire dans la carri^re 
des sciences. Les Universites d' Italic ont fourni des 
sujets qui ont fait honneur aux Academies ; et celles-ci 
ontdonne aux Universites des Professeurs, qui ont rempli 
les chaires avec la plus grande distinction."* 

The nature of the case and the history of philosophy 
combine to recommend to us this division of intellec- 
tual labour between Academies and Universities. To 
discover and to teach are distinct functions ; they are 
also distinct gifts, and are not commonly found united in 
the same person. He, too, who spends his day in dispens- 
ing his existing knowledge to all comers is unlikely to 
have either leisure or energy to acquire new. The com- 
mon sense of mankind has associated the search after 
truth with seclusion and quiet. The greatest thinkers 
have been too intent on their subject to admit of interrup- 
tion ; they have been men of absent minds and idosyn- 
cratic habits, and have, more or less, shunned the lecture 
room and the public school. Pythagoras, the light of 
Magna Gnecia, lived for a time in a cave. Thales, the 
light of Ionia, lived unmarried and in private, and refused 
the invitations of princes. Plato withdrew from Athens 
to the groves of Academus. Aristotle gave twenty years 
to a studious discip eship under him. Friar Bacon lived 
in his tower upon the Isis. Newton indulged in an intense 
severity of meditation which almost shook his reason. 

* Opere, t. iii., p. 353. 

xiv Preface. 

The great discoveries in chemistry and electricity were 
not made in Universities. Observatories are more fre- 
quently out of Universities than in them, and even when 
within their bounds need have no moral connexion with 
them. Porson had no classes ; Elmsley lived good part 
of his life in the country. I do not say that there are 
not great examples the other way, perhaps Socrates, 
certainly Lord Bacon; still I think it must be allowed on 
the whole that, while teaching involves external engage- 
ments, the natural home for experiment and speculation 
is retirement 

Returning, then, to the consideration of the question, 
from which I may seem to have digressed, thus much I 
think I have made good, — that, whether or no a Catholic 
University should put before it, as its great object, to 
make its students "gentlemen," still to make them some- 
thing or other is its great object, and not simply to pro- 
tect the interests and advance the dominion of Science. 
If, then, this maybe taken for granted, as I think it may, 
the only point which remains to be settled is, whether I 
have formed a probable conception of the sort of beiiefit 
which the Holy See has intended to confer on Catholics 
who speak the English tongue by recommending to the 
Irish Hierarchy the establishment of a University; and 
this I now proceed to consider. 

Here, then, it is natural to ask those who are interested 
in the question, whether any better interpretation of the 
recommendation of the Holy See can be given than that 
which I have suggested in this Volume. Certainly it 
does not seem to me rash to pronounce that, whereas 
Protestants have great advantages of education in the 
Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United King- 
dom, our ecclesiastical rulers have it in purpose that 
Catholics should enjoy the like advantages, whatever they 

Preface. xv 

are, to the full. I conceive they view it as prejudicial to 
the interests of Religion that there should be any culti- 
vation of mind bestowed upon Protestants which is not 
given to their own youth also. As they wish their schools 
for the poorer and middle classes to be at least on a par 
with those of Protestants, they contemplate the same ob- 
ject also as regards that higher education which is given to 
comparatively the few. Protestant youths, who can spare 
the time, continue their studies till the age of twenty-one 
or twenty-two ; thus they employ a time of life all-im- 
portant and especially favourable to mental culture. I 
conceive that our Prelates are impressed with the fact 
and its consequences, that a youth who ends his educa- 
tion at seventeen is no match {cczteris paribus) for one 
who ends it at twenty-two. 

All classes indeed of the community are impressed 
with a fact so obvious as this. The consequence is, th?.c 
Catholics who aspire to be on a level v/ith Protestants in 
discipline and refinement of intellect have recourse to 
Protestant Universities to obtain what they cannot find 
at home. Assuming (as the Rescripts from Propaganda 
allow me to do) that Protestant education is inexpedient 
for our youth, — we see here an additional reason why 
those advantages, whatever they are, which Protestant 
communities dispense through the medium of Protest- 
antism should be accessible to Catholics in a Catholic 

What are these advantages } I repeat, they are in one 
word the culture of the intellect. Robbed, oppressed, 
and thrust aside. Catholics in these islands have not been 
in a condition for centuries to attempt the sort of educa- 
tion which is necessary for the man of the world, the 
statesman, the landholder, or the opulent gentleman. 
Their legitimate stations, duties, employments, have been 

xvi Pre/ace. 

taken from them, and the qualifications withal, social 
and intellectual, which are necessary both for re\;ersing 
the forfeiture and for availing themselves of the reversal. 
The time is come when this moral disability must be 
removed. Our desideratum is, not the manners and habits 
of gentlemen ; — these can be, and are, acquired in various 
other ways, by good society, by foreign travel, by the 
innate grace and dignity of the Catholic mind ; — but the 
force, the steadiness, the comprehensiveness and the 
versatility of intellect, the command over our own powers, 
the instinctive just estimate of things as they pass before 
us, which sometimes indeed is a natural gift, but com- 
monly is not gained without much effort and the exercise 
of years. 

This is real cultivation of mind ; and I do not deny 
that the characteristic excellences of a gentleman are 
included in it. Nor need we be ashamed that they should 
be, since the poet long ago wrote, that " Ingenuas didi- 
cisse fideliter artes Emollit mores." Certainly a liberal 
education does manifest itself in a courtesy, propriety, 
and polish of M^ord and action, which is beautiful in itself, 
and acceptable to others ; but it does much more. It 
brings the mind into form, — for the mind is like the body. 
Boys outgrow their shape and their strength ; their limbs 
have to be knit together, and their constitution needs 
tone. Mistaking animal spirits for vigour, and over- 
confident in their health, ignorant what they can bear 
and how to manage themselves, they are immoderate 
and extravagant ; and fall into sharp sicknesses. This 
is an emblem of their minds ; at first they have no prin- 
ciples laid down within them as a foundation for the 
intellect to build upon ; they have no discriminating con- 
victions, and no grasp of consequences. And therefore 
they talk at random, if they talk much, and cannot help 

Preface. xvii 

being flippant, or what is emphatically called ''young!' 
They are merely dazzled by phenomena, instead of per- 
ceiving things as they are. 

It were well if none remained boys all their lives ; but 
what is more common than the sight of grown men, 
talking on political or moral or religious subjects, in that 
offhand, idle way, which we signify by the word imreal? 
" That they simply do not know what they are talking 
about " is the spontaneous silent remark of any man of 
sense who hears them. Hence such persons have no 
difficulty in contradicting themselves in successive sen- 
tences, without being conscious of it Hence others, 
whose defect in intellectual training is more latent, have 
their most unfortunate crotchets, as they are called, or 
hobbies, which deprive them of the influence which their 
estimable qualities would otherwise secure. Hence others 
can never look straight before them, never see the point, 
and have no difficulties in the most difficult subjects. 
Others are hopelessly obstinate and prejudiced, and, after 
they have been driven from their opinions, return to them 
the next moment without even an attempt to explain 
why. Others are so intemperate and intractable that 
there is no greater calamity for a good cause than that 
they should get hold of it. It is very plain from the 
very particulars I have mentioned that, in this delinea- 
tion of intellectual infirmities, I am drawing, not from 
Catholics, but from the world at large ; I am referring 
to an evil which is forced upon us in every railway 
carriage, in every coffee-room or table-d' hote, in every 
mixed company, an evil, however, to which Catholics are 
not less exposed than the rest of mankind. 

When the intellect has once been properly trained and 
formed to have a connected view or grasp of things, it 
will display its powers with more or less effect according- 

xviii Pre/ace. 

to its particular quality and capacity in the individual. 
In the case of most men it makes itself felt in the good 
sense, sobriety of thought, reasonableness, candour, self- 
command, and steadiness of view, v.hich characterize it. 
In some it will have developed habits of business, power 
of influencing others, and sagacity. In others it will 
elicit the talent of philosophical speculation, and lead 
the mind forward to eminence in this or that intellectual 
department. In all it will be a faculty of entering with 
comparative ease into any subject of thought, and of 
taking up with aptitude any science or profession. All 
this it will be and will do in a measure, even when the 
mental formation be made after a model but partially 
true ; for, as far as effectiveness goes, even false views of 
things have more influence and inspire more respect than 
no views at all. Men who fancy they see what is not 
are more energetic, and make their way better, than 
those who see nothing ; and so the undoubting infidel, 
the fanatic, the heresiarch, are able to do much, while the 
mere hereditary Christian, who has never realized the 
truths which he holds, is unable to do any thing. But, if 
consistency of view can add so much strength even to 
error, what may it not be expected to furnish to the 
dignity, the energy, and the influence of Truth ! 

Some one, however, will perhaps object that I am 
but advocating that spurious philosophism, which shows 
itself in what, for want of a word, I may call "viewi- 
ness," when I speak so much of the formation, and con- 
sequent grasp, of the intellect. It may be said that the 
theory of University Education, which I have been 
delineating, if acted upon, would teach youths nothing 
soundly or thoroughly, and would dismiss them with 
nothing better than brilliant general views about all 
things whatever. 

Preface. xix 

This indeed, if well founded, would be a most serious 
objection to what I have advanced in this Volume, and 
would demand my immediate attention, had I any reason 
to think that I could not remove it at once, by a simple 
explanation of what I consider the true mode of educa- 
ting, were this the place to do so. But these Discourses 
are directed simply to the consideration of the aims and 
principles of Education. Suffice it, then, to say here, that 
I hold very strongly that the first step in intellectual 
training is to impress upon a boy's mind the idea of 
science, method, order, principle, and system ; of rule 
and exception, of richness and harmony. This is com- 
monly and excellently done by making him begin with 
Grammar ; nor can too great accuracy, or minuteness 
and subtlety of teaching be used towards him, as his 
faculties expand, with this simple purpose. Hence it is 
that critical scholarship is so important a discipline for 
him when he is leaving school for the University. A 
second science is the Mathematics : this should follow 
Grammar, still with the same object, viz., to give him a 
conception of development and arrangement from and 
around a common centre. Hence it is that Chronology 
and Geography are so necessary for him, when he reads 
History, which is otherwise little better than a story- 
book. Hence, too. Metrical Composition, when he reads 
Poetry ; in order to stimulate his powers into action in 
every practicable way, and to prevent a merely passive 
reception of images and ideas which in that case are 
likely to pass out of the mind as soon as they have 
entered it. Let him once gain this habit of method, 
of starting from fixed points, of making his ground 
good as he goes, of distinguishing what he knows 
from what he does not know; and I conceive he will be 
gradually initiated into the largest and truest philoso- 

XX Preface. 

phical views, and will feel nothing but impatience and 
disgust at the random theories and imposing sophistries 
and dashing paradoxes, which carry away half-formed 
and superficial intellects. 

Such parti-coloured ingenuities are indeed one of the 
chief evils of the day, and men of real talent are not slow 
to minister to them. An intellectual man, as the world 
now conceives of him, is one who is full of " views " on 
all subjects of philosophy, on all matters of the day. It 
is almost thought a disgrace not to have a view at a 
moment's notice on any question from the Personal 
Advent to the Cholera or Mesmerism. This is owing in 
great measure to the necessities of periodical literature, 
now so much in request. Every quarter of a year, every 
month, every day, there must be a supply, for the grati- 
fication of the public, of new and luminous theories on 
the subjects of religion, foreign politics, home politics, 
civil economy, finance, trade, agriculture, emigration, 
and the colonies. Slavery, the gold fields, German 
philosophy, the French Empire, Wellington, Peel, Ire- 
land, must all be practised on, day after day, by what 
are called original thinkers. As the great man's guest 
must produce his good stories or songs at the evening 
banquet, as the platform orator exhibits his telling facts 
at mid-day, so the journalist. lies under the stern obliga- 
tion of extemporizing his lucid views, leading ideas, and 
nutshell truths for the breakfast table. The very nature 
of periodical literature, broken into small wholes, and 
demanded punctually to an hour, involves the habit of 
this extempore philosophy. "Almost all the Ramblers," 
says Boswell of Johnson, "were written just as they 
were wanted for the press ; he sent a certain portion of 
the copy of an essay, and wrote the remainder while the 
former part of it was printing." Few men have the gifts 

/ Preface, 


of Johnson, who to great vigour and resource of intellect, 
when it/Was fairly roused, united a rare common-sense 
and a conscientious regard for veracity, which preserved 
him from flippancy or extravagance in writing. Few 
men are Johnsons ; yet how many men at this day are 
assailed by incessant demands on their mental powers, 
whici only a productiveness like his could suitably 
supply ! There is a demand for a reckless originality of 
thought, and a sparkling plausibility of argument, which 
he would have despised, even if he could have displayed ; 
a demand for crude theory and unsound philosophy, 
rather than none at all. It is a sort of repetition of the 
" Quid novi .'' " of the Areopagus, and it must have an 
answer. Men must be found who can treat, where it is 
necessary, like the Athenian sophist, de omni scibili, 

" Grammaticus, Rhetor, Geometres, Pictor, Allptes, 
Augur, Schcenobates, Medicus, Magus, omnia novit." 

I am speaking of such writers with a feeling of real 
sympathy for men who are under the rod of a cruel 
slavery. I have never indeed been in such circumstances 
myself, nor in the temptations which they involve ; but 
most men who have had to do with composition must 
know the distress which at times it occasions them to 
have to write — a distress sometimes so keen and so 
specific that it resembles nothing else than bodily pain. 
That pain is the token of the wear and tear of mind ; 
and, if works done comparatively at leisure involve such 
mental fatigue and exhaustion, what must be the toil of 
those whose intellects are to be flaunted daily before the 
public in full dress, and that dress ever new and varied, 
and spun, like the silkworm's, out of themselves ! Still, 
whatever true sympathy we may feel for the ministers 
of this dearly purchased luxury, and whatever sense we 

xxii Preface. 

may have of the great intellectual power which the 
literature in question displays, we cannot honestly close 
our eyes to its direct evil. 

One other remark suggests itself, which is the last I 
shall think it necessary to make. The authority, which 
in former times was lodged in Universities, now resides 
in very great measure in that literary world, as it is 
called, to which I have been referring. This is not satis- 
factory, if, as no one can deny, its teaching be so oft- 
hand, so ambitious, so changeable. It increases the 
seriousness of the mischief, that so very large a portion 
of its writers are anonymous, for irresponsible power 
never can be any thing but a great evil ; and, moreover, 
that, even when they are known, they can give no better 
guarantee for the philosophical truth of their principles 
than their popularity at the moment, and their happy 
conformity in ethical character to the age which admires 
them. Protestants, however, may do as they will : it is 
a matter for their own consideration ; but at least it 
concerns us that our own literary tribunals and oracles 
of moral duty should bear a graver character. At least 
it is a matter of deep solicitude to Catholic Prelates that 
their people should be taught a wisdom, safe from the 
excesses and vagaries of individuals, embodied in institu- 
tions which have stood the trial and received the sanc- 
tion of ages, and administered by men who have no need 
to be anonymous, as being supported by their consis- 
tency with their predecessors and with each other. 

Kovrniber 21, 1S52. 



I. Introductory 

11. Theology a Branch of Knowledge . 
in. Bearing of Theology o.n other Knowledge 

IV. Bearing of other Knowledge on Theology 

V. Knowledge its own end 59 

VI. Knowledge viewed in relation to Learning . . 124 
VII. Knowledge viewed in relation to Professional Skill. 151 
viii. Knowledge VIEWED IN RELATION TO Religious Duty , 179 

\x. Duties of the Church TOWARDb Knowledge . , , 212 



IN addressing myself, Gentlemen, to the consideration 
of a question which has excited so much interest, 
and elicited so much discussion at the present day, a? 
that of University Education, I feel some explanation is 
due from me for supposing, after such high ability and 
wide experience have been brought to bear upon it, 
that any field remains for the additional labours either 
of a disputant or of an inquirer. If, nevertheless, I still 
venture to ask permission to continue the discussion, 
already so protracted, it is because the subject of Liberal 
Education, and of the principles on which it must be 
conducted, has ever had a hold upon my own mind ; and 
because I have lived the greater part of my life in a 
place which has all that time been occupied in a series 
of controversies both domestic and with strangers, and 
of measures, experimental or definitive, bearing upon it. 
About fifty years since, the English University, of which 
I was so long a member, after a century of inactivity, at 
length was roused, at a time when (as I may say) it was 
giving no education at all to the youth committed to its 
keeping, to a sense of the responsibilities which its pro- 
fession and its station involved, and it presents to us 

7 • I 

2 Discourse I. 

the singular example of an heterogeneous and an inde- 
.pendent body of men, setting about a work of self-refor- 
mation, not from any pressure of public opinion, but 
because it was fitting and right to undertake it. Its 
initial efforts, begun and carried on amid many ob- 
stacles, were met from without, as often happens in such 
cases, by ungenerous and jealous criticisms, which, at 
the very moment that they were urged, were beginning 
to be unjust. Controversy did but bring out more 
clearly to its own apprehension the views on which its 
reformation was proceeding, and throw them into a 
philosophical form. The course of beneficial change 
made progress, and what was at first but the result of 
individual energy and an act of the academical corpora- 
tion, gradually became popular, and was taken up and 
carried out by the separate collegiate bodies, of which 
the University is composed. This was the first stage of 
the controversy. Years passed away, and then political 
adversaries arose against it, and the system of education 
which it had established was a second time assailed ; but 
still, since that contest was conducted for the most part 
through the medium, not of political acts, but of treatises 
and pamphlets, it happened as before that the threatened 
dangers, in the course of their repulse, did but afford 
fuller development and more exact delineation to the 
principles of which the University was the representative 

In the former of these two controversies the charge 
brought against its studies was their remoteness from 
the occupations and duties of life, to which they are the 
formal introduction, or, in other words, their inutility; in 
the latter, it was their connexion with a particular form of 
belief, or, in other words, their religious exdusiveness. 

Living then so long as a witness, though hardly as an 
actor, in these scenes of intellectual conflict, I am able 

Introdiuiory, 3 

to bear witness to views of University Education, with- 
out authority indeed in themselves, but not without 
value to a CathoHc, and less familiar to him, as I con- 
ceive, than they deserve to be. And, while an argument 
originating in the controversies to which I have referred, 
may be serviceable at this season to that great cause in 
which we are here so especially interested, to me per* 
sonally it will afford satisfaction of a peculiar kind ; for, 
though it has been my lot for many years to take a 
prominent, sometimes a presumptuous, part in theological 
discussions, yet the natural turn of my mind carries me 
off to trains of thought like those which I am now about 
to open, which, important though they be for Catholic 
objects, and admitting of a Catholic treatment, are 
sheltered from the extreme delicacy And peril which 
attach to disputations directly bearing on the subject- 
matter of Divine Revelation, 

There are several reasons why I should open the 
discussion with a reference to the lessons with which 
past years have supplied me. One reason is this : It 
would concern me. Gentlemen, were I supposed to have 
got up my opinions for the occasion. This, indeed, would 
have been no reflection on me personally, supposing I 
were persuaded of their truth, when at length addressing 
myself to the inquiry ; but it would have destroyed, of 
course, the force of my testimony, and deprived such 
arguments, as I might adduce, of that moral persuasive- 
ness which attends on tried and sustained conviction. 
It would have made me seem the advocate, rather than 
the cordial and d ^liberate maintainer and witness, of the 
doctrines which I was to support ; and, though it might 
be said to evidence the faith I reposed in the practical 

4 Discourse /. 

judgment of the Church, and the intimate concurrence 
of my own reason with the course she had authoritatively 
sanctioned, and the devotion with which I could promptly 
put myself at her disposal, it would have cast suspicion 
on the validity of reasonings and conclusions which 
rested on no independent inquiry, and appealed to no 
past experience. In that case it might have been plau- 
sibly objected by opponents that I was the serviceable 
expedient of an emergency, and never, after all, could 
be more thnn ingenious and adroit in the management of 
an argument which was not my own, and which I was 
sure to forget again as readily as I had mastered it. 
But this is not so. The views to which I have referred 
have grown into my whole system of thought, and are, 
as it were, part of myself. Many changes has my mind 
gone through : here it has known no variation or vacilla- 
tion of opinion, and though this by itself is no proof of 
the truth of my principles, it puts a seal upon conviction, 
and is a justification of earnestness and zeal Those prin- 
ciples, which I am now to set forth under the sanction of 
the Catholic Church, were my profession at that early 
period of my life, when religion was to me more a matter 
of feeling and experience than of faith. They did but 
take greater hold upon me, as I was introduced to the 
records of Christian Antiquity, and approached in senti- 
ment and desire to Catholicism ; and my sense of their 
correctness has been increased with the events of every 
year since I have been brought within its pale. 

And here I am brought to a second and more important 
reason for referring, on this occasion, to the conclusions 
at which Protestants have arrived on the subject of 
Liberal Education ; and it is as follows : Let it be ob- 
served, then, that the principles on which I would conduct 
the inquiry are attainable, as I have already implied, by 

Introductory, 5 

the mere experience of life. They do not come simply 
of theology; they imply no supernatural discernment ; 
they have no special connexion with Revelation ; they 
almost arise out of the nature of the case ; they are 
dictated even by human prudence and \visdom, though a 
divine illumination be absent, and they are recognized 
by common sense, even where self-interest is not present 
to quicken it ; and, therefore, though true, and just, and 
good in themselves, they imply nothing whatever as to 
the religious profession of those who maintain them. 
They may be held by Protestants as well as by CathoHcs ; 
nay, there is reason to anticipate that in certain times 
and places they will be more thoroughly investigated, 
and better understood, and held more firmly by Protest- 
ants than by ourselves. 

It is natural to expect this from the very circumstance 
that the philosophy of Education is founded on truths 
in the natural order. Where the sun shines bright, in 
the warm climate of the south, the natives of the place 
know little of safeguards against cold and wet. They 
have, indeed, bleak and piercing blasts ; they have chill 
and pouring rain, but only now and then, for a day or a 
week ; they bear the inconvenience as they best may, but 
they have not made it an art to repel it ; it is not worth 
their while; the science of calefaction and ventilation is 
reserved for the north. It is in this way that Catholics 
stand relatively to Protestants in the science of Edu- 
cation ; Protestants depending on human means mainly, 
are led to make the most of them : their sole resource is 
to use v^hat they have ; " Knowledge is " their " power" 
and nothing else ; they are the anxious cultivators of a 
rugged soil. It is otherwise with us ; ^'funes cecidemrit 
niihiin prceclarisy We have a goodly inheritance. This 
is apt to cause us (I do not mean to rely too much on 

6 Ducourse I, 

prayer, and the Divine Blessin^,forthat is impossible ; but) 
we sometimes forget that we shall please Him best, and get 
most from Him, when, according to the Fable, we " put 
our shoulder to the wheel," when we use what we have by 
nature to the utmost, at the same time that we look out 
for what is beyond nature in the confidence of faith and 
hope. However, we are sometimes tempted to let things 
take their course, as if they would in one way or another 
turn up right at last for certain ; and so we go on, living 
from hand to mouth, getting into difficulties and getting 
out of them, succeeding certainly on the whole, but with 
failure in detail which might be avoided, and with much 
of imperfection or inferiority in our appointments and 
plans, and much disappointment, discouragement, and 
collision of opinion in consequence. If this be in any 
measure the state of the case, there is certainly so far 
a reason for availing ourselves of the investigations 
and experience of those who are not Catholics, when we 
have to address ourselves to the subject of Liberal 

Nor is there surely any thing derogatory to the position 
of a Catholic in such a proceeding. The Church has 
ever appealed and deferred to witnesses and authorities 
external to herself, in those matters in which she 
thought they had means of forming a judgment: and 
that on the principle, Cuiqtie in arte sua credenduni. 
She has even used unbelievers and pagans in evidence 
of her truth, as far as their testimony went. She avails 
herself of scholars, critics, and antiquarians, who are not 
of her communion. She has worded her theological teach- 
ing in the phraseology of Aristotle ; Aquila, Symmachus, 
Theodotion, Origen, Eusebius, and Apollinaris, all more 
or less heterodox, have supplied materials for primitive 
exegetics. St. Cyprian called Tertullian his master ; 

Introductory. 7 

St. Augustin refers to Ticonius ; Bossuet, in modern 
times, complimented the labours of the Anglican Bull; 
the Benedictine editors of the Fathers are familiar with 
the labours of Fell, Ussher, Pearson, and Beveridge. 
Pope Benedict XIV. cites according to the occasion the 
works of Protestants without reserve, and the late French 
collection of Christian Apologists contains the writings 
of Locke, Burnet, Tillotson, and Paley. If, then, I 
come forward in any degree as borrowing the views of 
certain Protestant schools on the point which is to be 
discussed, I do so. Gentlemen, as believing, first, that the 
Catholic Church has ever, in the plenitude of her divine 
illumination, made use of whatever truth or wisdom she 
has found in their teaching or their measures ; and next, 
that in particular places or times her children are likely 
to profit from external suggestions or lessons, which have 
not been provided for them by herself. 


And here I may mention a third reason for appealing 
at the outset to the proceedings of Protestant bodies in 
regard to Liberal Education. It will serve to intimate 
the mode in which I propose to handle my subject 
altogether. Observe then. Gentlemen, I have no inten- 
tion, in any thing I shall say, of bringing into the argument 
the authority of the Church, or any authority at all ; but 
I shall consider the question simply on the grounds of 
human reason and human wisdom. I am investigating 
in the abstract, and am determining what is in itself right 
and true. For the moment I know nothing, so to say, 
of history. I take things as I find them ; I have no con- 
cern with the past ; I find myself here ; I set myself to 
the duties I find here ; I set myself to further, by every 
means in my power, doctrines and views, true in them- 

8 Discourse I. 

selves, recognized by Catholics as such, familiar to my 
own mind ; and to do this quite apart from the consider- 
ation of questions which have been determined without 
me and before me. I am here the advocate and the 
minister of a certain great principle ; yet not merely 
advocate and minister, else had I not been here at all. It 
has been my previous keen sense and hearty reception 
of that principle, that has been at once the reason, as I 
must suppose, of my being selected for this office, 
and is the cause of my accepting it. I am told on 
authority that a principle is expedient, which I have 
ever felt to be true. And I argue in its behalf on its 
own merits, the authority, which brings me here, being 
my opportunity for arguing, but not the ground of my 
argument itself. 

And a fourth reason is here suggested for consulting 
the history of Protestant institutions, when I am going 
to speak of the object and nature of University Education. 
It will serve to remind you. Gentlemen, that I am con- 
cerned with questions, not simply of immutable truth, 
but of practice and expedience. It would ill have 
become me to undertake a subject, on which points of 
dispute have arisen among persons so far above me in 
authority and name, in relation to a state of society, 
about which I have so much to learn, if it involved an 
appeal to sacred truths, or the determination of some 
imperative rule of conduct. It would have been pre- 
sumptuous in me so to have acted, nor am I so acting. 
Even the question of the union of Theology with the 
secular Sciences, which is its religious side, simple as it 
is of solution in the abstract, has, according to difference 
of circumstances, been at different times differently 
decided. Necessity has no law, and expedience is often 
one form of necessity. It is no principle with sensible 

Introductory, 9 

men, of whatever cast of opinion, to do always what is 
abstractedly best. Where no direct duty forbids, we 
may be obliged to do, as being best under circumstances, 
what we murmur and rise against, while we do it. We 
see that to attempt more is to effect less ; that we must 
accept so much, or gain nothing ; and so perforce we 
reconcile ourselves to what we would have far otherwise, 
if we could. Thus a system of what is called secular 
Education, in which Theology and the Sciences are 
taught separately, may, in a particular place or time, be 
the least of evils ; it may be of long standing ; it may be 
dangerous to meddle with ; it may be professedly a 
temporary arrangement ; it may be under a process of 
improvement ; its disadvantages may be neutralized by 
the persons by whom, or the provisions under which, it is 

Hence it was, that in the early ages the Church al- 
lowed her children to attend the heathen schools for the 
acquisition of secular accomplishments, where, as no 
one can doubt, evils existed, at least as great as can 
attend on Mixed Education now. The gravest Fathers 
recommended for Christian youth the use of Pagan 
masters ; the most saintly Bishops and most authorita- 
tive Doctors had been sent in their adolescence by 
Christian parents to Pagan lecture halls.* And, not to 
take other instances, at this very time, and in this very 
country, as regards at least the poorer classes of the 
community, whose secular acquirements ever must be 
limited, it has seemed best to the Irish Bishops, under 
the circumstances, to suffer the introduction into the 
country of a system of Mixed Education in the schools 
called National. Such a state of things, however, is 
passing away ; as regards University education at least, 

• Vide M. L'AbbJ Lalanne's recent work. 

I'D Discourse I. 

the highest authority has now decided that the plan, 
which is abstractedly best, is in this time and country 
also most expedient. 


And here I have an opportunity of recognizing once 
for all that higher view of approaching the subject of 
these Discourses, which, after this formal recognition, I 
mean to dispense with. Ecclesiastical authority, not 
argument, is the supreme rule and the appropriate guide 
for Catholics in matters of religion. It has always the 
right to interpose, and sometimes, in the conflict of 
parties and opinions, it is called on to e ercise that 
right. It has lately exercised it in our own instance : it 
has interposed in favour of a pure University system for 
Catholic youth, forbidding compromise or accommodation 
of any kind. Of course its decision must be heartily 
accepted and obeyed, and that the more, because the 
decision proceeds, not simply from the Bishops of Ire- 
land, great as their authority is, but the highest authority 
on earth, from the Chair of St. Peter. 

Moreover, such a decision not only demands our 
submission, but has a claim upon our trust It not only 
acts as a prohibition of any measures, but as an ipso 
facto confutation of any reasonings, inconsistent with it. 
It carries with it an earnest and an augury of its own 
expediency. For instance, I can fancy, Gentlemen, 
there may be some, among those who hear me, disposed 
to say that they are ready to acquit the principles of 
Education, which I am to advocate, of all fault what- 
ever, except that of being impracticable. I can fancy 
them granting to me, that those principles are most 
correct and most obvious, simply irresistible on paper, but 
maintaining, nevertheless, that after all, they are nothing 

Introductory. 1 1 

more than the dreams of men who live out of the world, 
and who do not see the difficulty of keeping Catholicism 
anyhow afloat on the bosom of this wonderful nine- 
teenth century. Proved, indeed, those principles are, to 
demonstration, but they will not work. Nay, it was 
my own admission just now, that, in a particular in- 
stance, it might easily happen, that what is only second 
best is best practically, because what is actually best is 
out of the question. 

This, I hear you say to yourselves, is the state of 
things at present. You recount in detail the numberless 
impediments, great and small, formidable or only vexa- 
tious, which at every step embarrass the attempt to carry 
out ever so poorly a principle in itself so true and 
ecclesiastical. You appeal in your defence to wise and 
sagacious intellects, who are far from enemies to Catho- 
licism, or to the Irish Hierarchy, and you have no hope, 
or rather you absolutely disbelieve, that Education can 
possibly be conducted, here and now, on a theological 
principle, or that youths of different religions can, under 
the circumstances of the country, be educated apart from 
each other. The more you think over the state of 
politics, the position of parties, the feelings of classes, 
and the experience of the past, the more chimerical 
does it seem to you to aim at a University, of which 
Catholicity is the fundamental principle. Nay, even if 
the attempt could accidentally succeed, would not the 
mischief exceed the benefit of it? How great the 
sacrifices, in how many ways, by which it would be 
preceded and followed ! how many wounds, open and 
secret, would it inflict upon the body politic ! And, if 
it fails, which is to be expected, then a double mischief 
will ensue from its recognition of evils which it has been 
unable to remedy. 1 hese are your deep misgivings ; 

1 2 Discourse L 

and, in proportion to the force with which they come to 
you, is the concern and anxiety which you feel, that 
there should be those whom you love, whom you 
revere, who from one cause or other refuse to enter 
into them. 

This, I repeat, is what some good Catholics will say 
to me, and more than this. They will express them- 
selves better than I can speak for them in their behalf, — 
with more earnestness and point, with more force of 
argument and fulness of detail ; and I will frankly and 
at once acknowledge, that I shall insist on the high theo- 
logical view of a University without attempting to give 
a direct answer to their arguments against its present 
practicability. I do not say an answer cannot be given ; 
on the contrary, I have a confident expectation that, in 
proportion as those objections are looked in the face, 
they will fade away. But, however this may be, it would 
not become me to argue the matter with those who 
understand the ciicufhstances of the problem so much 
better than myself. What do I know of the state of things 
in Ireland, that I should presume to put ideas of mine, 
which could not be right except by accident, by the side 
of theirs, who speak in the country of their birth and 
their home? No, Gentlemen, you are natural judges of 
the difficulties which beset us, and they are doubtless 
greater than I can even fancy or forbode. Let me, fur 
the sake of argument, admit all you say against our 
enterprise, and a great deal more. Your proof of its 
intrinsic impossibility shall be to me as cogent as my 
own of its theological advisableness. Why, then, should 
I be so rash and perverse as to involve myself in trouble 
not properly mine ? Why go out of my own place ? 

Introductory. • 13 

Why so headstrong and reckless as to lay up for myself 
miscarriage and disappointment, as though I were not 
sure to have enough of personal trial anyhow without 
going about to seek for it ? 

Reflections such as these would be decisive even 
with the boldest and most capable minds, but for one 
consideration. In the midst of our difficulties I have 
one ground of hope, just one stay, but, as I think, a 
sufficient one, which serves me in the stead of all other 
argument whatever, which hardens me against criticism, 
which supports me if I begin to despond, and to 
which I ever come round, when the question of the 
possible and the expedient is brought into discussion. 
It is the decision of the Holy See ; St, Peter has spokcMi, 
it is he who has enjoined that which seems to us so 
unpromising. He has spoken, and has a claim on us to 
trust him. He is no recluse, no solitary student, no 
dreamer about the past, no doter upon the dead and 
gone, no projector of the visionary. He for eighteen 
hundred years has lived in the world ; he has seen all 
fortunes, he has encountered all adversaries, he has 
shaped himself for all emergencies. If ever there was 
a power on earth who had an eye for the times, who 
has confined himself to the practicable, and has been 
happy in his anticipations, whose words have been facts, 
and whose commands prophecies, such is he in the 
history of ages, who sits from generation to generation 
in the Chair of the Apostles, as the Vicar of Christ, and 
the Doctor of His Church. 


These are not the words of rhetoric, Gentlemen, but of 
history. All who take part with the Apostle, are on the 
winning side. He has long since given warrants for tlie 

1 4 Discourse 1. 

confidence which he claims. From the first he has 
looked through the wide world, of which he has the 
burden ; and, according to the need of the day, and the 
inspirations of his Lord, he has set himself now to one 
thing, now to another ; but to all in season, and to no- 
thing in vain. He came first upon an age of refinement 
and luxury like our own, and, in spite of the persecutor, 
fertile in the resources of his cruelty, he soon gathered, 
out of all classes of society, the slave, the soldier, the 
high-born lady, and the sophist, materials enough to 
form a people to his Master's honour. The savage hordes 
come down in torrents from the north, and Peter went 
out to meet them, and by his very eye he sobered them, 
and backed them in their full career. They turned aside 
and flooded the whole earth, but only to be more surely 
civilized by him, and to be made ten times more his 
children even than the older populations which they had 
overwhelmed. Lawless kings arose, sagacious as the 
Roman, passionate as the Hun, yet in him they found 
their match, and were shattered, and he lived on. The 
gates of the earth were opened to the east and west, and 
men poured out to take possession ; but he went with 
them by his missionaries, to China, to Mexico, carried 
along by zeal and charity, as far as those children of 
men were led by enterprise, covetousness, or ambition. 
Has he failed in his successes up to this hour .'' Did he, 
in our fathers' day, fail in his struggle with Joseph of 
Germany and his confederates, with Napoleon, a greater 
name, and his dependent kings, that, though in another 
kind of fight, he should fail in ours .-* What grey hairs 
are on the head of Judah, whose youth is renewed like 
the eagle's, whose feet are like the feet of harts, and 
underneath the Everlasting arms ? 

In the first centuries of the Church all this practical 

Introdiictoty. 1 5 

sagacity of Holy Church was mere matter of faith, but 
every age, as it has come, has confirmed faith by actual 
sight ; and shame on us, if, with the accumulated testi- 
mony of eighteen centuries, our eyes are too gross to 
see those victories which the Saints have ever seen by 
anticipation. Least of all can we, the Catholics of islands 
which have in the cultivation and diffusion of Knowledge 
heretofore been so singularly united under the auspices 
of the Apostolic See, least of all can we be the men to 
distrust its wisdom and to predict its failure, when it 
sends us on a similar mission now. I cannot forget that, 
at a time when Celt and Saxon were alike savage, it was 
the See of Peter that gave both of them, first faith, 
then civilization ; and then again bound them together 
in one by the seal of a joint commission to convert and 
illuminate in their turn the pagan continent. I cannot 
forget how it was from Rome that the glorious St. Patrick 
was sent to Ireland, and did a work so great that he 
could not have a successor in it, the sanctity and learning 
and zeal and charity which followed on his death being 
but the result of the one impulse which he gave. I 
cannot forget how, in no long time, under the fostering 
breath of the Vicar of Christ, a country of heathen super- 
stitions became the very wonder and asylum of all people, 
—the wonder by reason of its knowledge, sacred and 
profane, and the asylum of religion, literature and 
science, when chased away from the continent by the 
barbarian invaders. I recollect its hospitality, freely 
accorded to the pilgrim ; its volumes munificently pre- 
sented to the foreign student ; and the prayers, the 
blessings, the holy rites, the solemn chants, which sancti- 
fied the while both giver and receiver. 

Nor can I forget either, how my own England had 
meanwhile become the solicitude of the same unwearied 

1 6 Discourse I. 

eye : how Augustine was sent to us by Gregory ; how he 
fainted in the way at the tidings of our fierceness, and, 
but for the Pope, would have shrunk as from an 
impossible expedition ; how he was forced on " in 
weakness and in fear and in much trembling," until he 
had achieved the conquest of the island to Christ. Nor, 
again, how it came to pass that, when Augustine died 
and his work slackened, another Pope, unwearied still, 
sent three saints from Rome, to ennoble and refine the 
people Augustine had converted. Three holy men set 
out for England together, of different nations : Theodore, 
an Asiatic Greek, from Tarsus ; Adrian, an African ; 
Bennett alone a Saxon, for Peter knows no distinction of 
races in his ecumenical work. They came with theology 
and science in their train ; with relics, with pictures, with 
manuscripts of the Holy Fathers and the Greek classics ; 
and Theodore and Adrian founded schools, secular and 
monastic, all over England, while Bennett brought to the 
north the large library he had collected in foreign parts, 
and, with plans and ornamental work from France, 
erected a church of stone, under the invocation of St. 
Peter, after the Roman fashion, " which," says the his- 
torian,* " he most affected," I call to mind how St. 
Wilfrid, St. John of Beverley, St. Bede, and other saintly 
men, carried on the good work in the following genera- 
tions, and how from that time forth the two islands, 
England and Ireland, in a dark and dreary age, were 
the two lights of Christendom, and had no claims on each 
other, and no thought of self, save in the interchange of 
kind offices and the rivalry of love. 

O memorable time, when St. Aidan and the Irish 
* Cressy. 

Introductory. 1 7 

monks went up to Lindisfarne and Melrose, and taught 
the Saxon youth, and when a St. Cuthbert and a St. 
Hata repaid their charitable toil ! O blessed days 
of peace and confidence, when the Celtic Mailduf pene- 
trated to Malmesbury in the south, which has inherited 
his name, and founded there the famous school which 
gave birth to the great St. Aldhelm ! O precious seal 
and testimony of Gospel unity, when, as Aldhelm in 
turn tells us, the English went to Ireland " numerous as 
bees ; " when the Saxon St. Egbert and St. Willibrod, 
preachers to the heathen Prisons, made the voyage to 
Ireland to prepare themselves for their work ; and when 
from Ireland went forth to Germany the two noble 
Ewalds, Saxons also, to earn the crown of martyrdom ! 
Such a period, indeed, so rich in grace, in peace, in love, 
and in good works, could only last for a season ; but, 
even when the light was to pass away from them, the 
sister islands were destined, not to forfeit, but to transmit 
it together. The time came when the neighbouring 
continental country was in turn to hold the mission 
which they had exercised so long and well ; and when 
to it they made over their honourable office, faithful to 
the alliance of two hundred years, they made it a joint 
act. Alcuin was the pupil both of the English and of 
the Irish schools ; and when Charlemagne would revive 
science and letters in his own France, it was Alcuin, the 
representative both of the Saxon and the Celt, who was 
the chief of those who went forth to supply the need of 
the great Emperor. Such was the foundation of the 
School of Paris, from which, in the course of centuries, 
sprang the famous University, the glory of the middk 

The past never returns ; the course of events, old in 
T 2 

1 8 Discourse I. 

its texture, is ever new in its colouring and fashion. 
England and Ireland are not what they once were, but 
Rome is where it was, and St. Peter is the same : his 
zeal, his charity, his mission, his gifts are all the same. 
He of old made the two islands one by giving them 
joint work of teaching ; and now surely he is giving us 
a like mission, and we shall become one again, while we 
sealousiy and lovingly fulfil it. 



THERE were two questions, to which I drew your 
attention, Gentlemen, in the beginning of my first 
Discourse, as being of especial importance and interest 
at this time: first, whether it is consistent with the idea 
of University teaching to exclude Theology from a place 
among the sciences which it embraces ; next, whether it 
is consistent with that idea to make the useful arts and 
sciences its direct and principal concern, to the neglect 
of those liberal studies and exercises of mind, in which 
it has heretofore been considered mainly to consist. 
These are the questions which will form the subject of 
what I have to lay before you, and I shall now enter upon 
the former of the two. 


It is the fashion just now, as you very well know, to 
erect so-called Universities, without making any provi- 
sion in them at all for Theological chairs. Institutions 
of this kind exist both here and in England. Such a 
procedure, though defended by writers of the genera- 
tion just passed with much plausible argument and not 
a little wit, seems to me an intellectual absurdity ; and 
my reason for saying so runs, with whatever abruptness, 
into the form of a syllogism : — A University, I should 

20 Disc^'vrse II. 

lay down, by its very name professes to teach universal 
knowledge: Theology is surely a branch of knowledge : 
how then is it possible for it to profess all branches of 
knowledge, and yet to exclude from the subjects of its 
teaching one which, to say the least, is as important 
and as large as any of them ? I do not see that either 
premiss of this argument is open to exception. 

As to the range of University teaching, certainly the 
very name of University is inconsistent with restrictions 
of any kind. Whatever was the original reason of the 
adoption of that term, which is unknown,* I am only 
putting on it its popular, its recognized sense, when I say 
that a University should teach universal knowledge. 
That there is a real necessity for this universal teaching 
in the highest schools of intellect, I will show by-and-by ; 
here it is sufficient to say that such universality is con- 
sidered by writers on the subject to be the very charac- 
teristic of a University, as contrasted with other seats of 
learning. Thus Johnson, in his Dictionary, defines it to 
be " a school where all arts and faculties are taught ; " 
and Mosheim, writing as an historian, says that, before 
the rise of the University of Paris,^ — for instance, at Padu^i, 
or Salamanca, or Cologne, — " the whole circle of sciences 
then known was not taught ; " but that the school of 
Paris, "which exceeded all others in various respects 
as well as in the number of teachers and students, was 
the first to embrace all the arts and sciences, and there- 
fore first became a University." f 

If, with other authors, we consider the word to be 
derived from the invitation which is held out by a Uni- 
versity to students of every kind, the result is the same ; 
for, if certain branches of knowledge were excluded, 

* In Roman law it means a Corporation. Vid. Keuffel, de SchoUs. 
t Hist. vol. ii. p. 529. London, 1841. 

Theology a Branch 0/ Knowledge. 21 

those students of course would be excluded also, who 
desired to pursue them. 

Is it, then, logically consistent in a seat of learning 
to call itself a University, and to exclude Theology 
from the number of its studies ? And again, is it won- 
derful that Catholics, even in the view of reason, putting 
aside faith or religious duty, should be dissatisfied with 
existing institutions, which profess to be Universities, 
and refuse to teach Theology ; and that they should in 
consequence desire to possess seats of learning, whicli 
are, not only more Christian, but more philosophical 
in their construction, and larger and deeper in their 
provisions ? 

But this, of course, is to assume that Theology is a 
science, and an important one : so I will throw my argu- 
ment into a more exact form. I say, then, that if a 
University be, from the nature of the case, a place of 
instruction, where universal knowledge is professed, and 
if in a certain University, so called, the subject of Reli- 
gion is excluded, one of two conclusions is inevitable, — 
either, on the one hand, that the province of Religion is 
very barren of real knowledge, or, on the other hand, that 
in such University one special and important branch of 
knowledge is omitted. I say, the advocate of such an 
institution must say this, or he must say that; he must own, 
either that little or nothing is known about the Supreme 
Being, or that his seat of learning calls itself what it is not. 
This is the thesis which I lay down, and on which I shall 
insist as the subject of this Discourse. I repeat, such a 
compromise between religious parties, as is involved in 
the establishment of a University which makes no reli- 
gious profession, implies that those parties severally 
consider, — not indeed that their own respective opinions 
are trifles in a moral and practical point of view — of 

22 Discourse II. 

course not ; but certainly as much as this, that they 
are not knowledge. Did they in their hearts believe 
that their private views of religion, whatever they are, 
were absolutely and objectively true, it is inconceivable 
that they would so insult them as to consent to their 
omission in an Institution which is bound, from the 
nature of the case — from its very idea and its name — 
to make a profession of all sorts of knowledge whatever. 

I think this will be found to be no matter of words. 
I allow then fully, that, when men combine together 
for any common object, they are obliged, as a matter of 
course, in order to secure the advantages accruing from 
united action, to sacrifice many of their private opinions 
and wishes, and to drop the minor differences, as they 
are commonly called, which exist between man and man. 
No two persons perhaps are to be found, however inti- 
mate, however congenial in tastes and judgments, how- 
ever eager to have one heart and one soul, but must 
deny themselves, for the sake of each other, much which 
they like or desire, if they are to live together happily. 
Compromise, in a large sense of the word, is the first 
principle of combination ; and any one who insists on 
enjoying his rights to the full, and his opinions without 
toleration for his neighbour's, and his own way in al/ 
things, will soon have all things altogether to himself, 
and no one to share them with him. But most true as 
this confessedly is, still there is an obvious limit, on the 
other hand, to these compromises, however necessary they 
be ; and this is found in the proviso, that the differences 
surrendered should be but " minor," or that there should 
be no sacrifice of the main object of the combination, in 
the concessions which are mutually made. Any sacrifice 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 23 

which compromises that object is destructive of the 
principle of the combination, and no one who would be 
consistent can be a party to it. 

Thus, for instance, if men of various rehgious denomi- 
nations join together for the dissemination of what are 
called " evangelical " tracts, it is under the belief, that, 
the object of their uniting, as recognized on all hands, 
being the spiritual benefit of their neighbours, no reli- 
gious exhortations, whatever be their character, can 
essentially interfere with that benefit, which faithfully 
insist upon the Lutheran doctrine of Justification. If, 
again, they agree together in printing and circulating the 
Protestant Bible, it is because they, one and all, hold to 
the principle, that, however serious be their differences 
of religious sentiment, such differences fade away before 
the one great principle, which that circulation symbolizes 
• — that the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the 
Bible, is the religion of Protestants. On the contrary, 
if the committee of some such association inserted tracts 
into the copies of the said Bible which they sold, and 
tracts in recommendation of the Athanasian Creed or 
the merit of good works, I conceive any subscribing 
member would have a just right to complain of a pro- 
ceeding, which compromised the principle of Private 
Judgment as the one true interpreter of Scripture. 
These instances are sufficient to illustrate my general 
position, that coalitions and comprehensions for an 
object, have their life in the prosecution of that object, 
and cease to have any meaning as soon as that object is 
compromised or disparaged. 

When, then, a number of persons come forward, not 
as politicians, not as diplomatists, lawyers, traders, or 
speculators, but with the one object of advancing Uni- 
versal Knowledge, much we may allow them to sacrifice. 

24 Discourse II. 

— ambition, reputation, leisure, comfort, party-interests, 
gold ; one thing they may not sacrifice, — Knowledge 
itself. Knowledge being their object, they need not of 
course insist on their own piivate views about ancient or 
modern history, or national prosperity, or the balance of 
power; they need not of course shrink from the co-ope- 
ration of those who hold the opposite views ; but stipulate 
they must that Knowledge itself is not compromised ; — 
and as to those views, of whatever kind, which they do 
allow to be dropped, it is plain they consider such to be 
opinions, and nothing more, however dear, however im- 
portant to themselves personally ; opinions ingenious, 
admirable, pleasurable, beneficial, expedient, but not 
worthy the name of Knowledge or Science Thus no 
one would insist on the Malthusian teaching being a si7ie 
gitd lion in a seat of learning, who did not think it simply 
ignorance not to be a Malthusian ; and no one would 
consent to drop the Newtonian theory, who thought it 
to have been proved true, in the same sense as the ex- 
istence of the sun and moon is true. If, then, in an 
Institution which professes all knowledge, nothing is 
professed, nothing is taught about the Supreme Being, 
it is fair to infer that every individual in the number of 
those who advocate that Institution, supposing him con- 
sistent, distinctly holds that nothing is knoivn for certain 
about the Supreme Being ; nothing such, as to have any 
claim to be regarded as a material addition to the stock 
of general knowledge existing in the world. If on the 
other hand it turns out that something considerable is 
known about the Supreme Being, whether from Reason 
or Revelation, then the Institution in question professes 
every science, and yet leaves out the foremost of them. 
In a word, strong as may appear the assertion, I do not 
see how I can avoid making it, and bear with me, Gentle- 

Theology a Branch oj KyiowLedgc, 25 

men, while I do so, viz., such an Institution cannot be 
what it professes, if there be a God. I do not wish to 
declaim ; but, by the very force of the terms, it is very 
plain, that a Divine Being and a University so circum- 
stanced cannot co-exist. 

Still, however, this may seem to many an abrupt con- 
clusion, and will not be acquiesced in : what answer, 
Gentlemen, will be made to it .'' Perhaps this : — It will 
be said, that there are different kinds or spheres of 
Knowledge, human, divine, sensible, intellectual, and the 
like ; and that a University certainly takes in all varie- 
ties of Knowledge in its own line, but still that it has 
a line of its own. It contemplates, it occupies a certain 
order, a certain platform, of Knowledge. I understand 
the remark ; but I own to you, I do not understand how 
it can be made to apply to the matter in hand. I can- 
not so construct my definition of the subject-matter of 
University Knowledge, and so draw my boundary lines 
around it, as to include therein the other sciences com- 
monly studied at Universities, and to exclude the 
science of Religion. For instance, are we to limit our 
idea of University Knowledge by the evidence of our 
senses } then we exclude ethics ; by intuition .-* we ex- 
clude history ; by testimony ? we exclude metaphysics ; 
by abstract reasoning ? we exclude physics. Is not the 
being of a God reported to us by testimony, handed 
down by history, inferred by an inductive process, brought 
home to us by metaphysical necessity, urged on us by 
the suggestions of our conscience? It is a truth in the 
natural order, as well as in the supernatural. So much 
for its origin ; and, when obtained, what is it worth .-* Is 
it a great truth or a small one.' Is it a comprehensive 

26 Discourse II. 

truth ? Say that no other reHgious idea whatever were 
given but it, and you have enough to fill the mind ; you 
have at once a whole dogmatic system. The word 
" God " is a Theology in itself, indivisibly one, inex- 
haustibly various, from the vastness and the simplicity 
of its meaning. Admit a God, and you introduce 
among the subjects of your knowledge, a fact encom- 
passing, closing in upon, absorbing, every other fact 
conceivable. How can we investigate any part of any 
order of Knowledge, and stop short of that which enters 
into every order .-' All true principles run over with it, 
all phenomena converge to it ; it is truly the First and 
the Last. In word indeed, and in idea, it is easy enough 
to divide Knowledge into human and divine, secular and 
religious, and to lay down that we will address ourselves 
to the one without interfering with the other ; but it is 
impossible in fact. Granting that divine truth differs in 
kind from human, so do human truths differ in kind one 
from another. If the knowledge of the Creator is in a 
different order from knowledge of the creature, so, in like 
manner, metaphysical science is in a different order from 
physical, physics from history, history from ethics. 
You will soon break up into fragments the whole circle 
of secular knowledge, if you begin the mutilation with 

I have been speaking simply of Natural Theology ; 
my argument of course is stronger when I go on to 
Revelation. Let the doctrine of the Incarnation be 
true : is it not at once of the nature of an historical fact, 
and of a metaphysical .-* Let it be true that there are 
Angels : how is not this a point of knowledge in the 
same sense as the naturalist's asseveration, that myriads 
of living things might co-exist on the point of a needle .-' 
That the Earth is to be burned by fire, is, if true, as 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 21 

large a fact as that huge monsters once played amid its 
depths ; that Antichrist is to come, is as categorical a 
heading to a chapter of history, as that Nero or Julian 
was Emperor of Rome ; that a divine influence moves 
the will, is a subject of thought not more mysterious 
than the result of volition on our muscles, which we 
admit as a fact in metaphysics. 

I do not see how it is possible for a philosophical mind, 
first, to believe these religious facts to be true ; next, to 
consent to ignore them ; and thirdly, in spite of this, to go 
on to profess to be teaching all the while de omni scibili. 
No ; if a man thinks in his heart that these religious facts 
are short of truth, that they are not true in the sense in 
which the general fact and the law of the fall of a stone to 
the earth is true, I understand his excluding Religion from 
his University, though he professes other reasons for its 
exclusion. In that case the varieties of religious opinion 
under which he shelters his conduct, are not only his 
apology for publicly disowning Religion, but a cause of 
his privately disbelieving it. Redoes not think that any 
thing is known or can be known for certain, about the 
origin of the world or the end of man. 

This, I fear, is the conclusion to which intellects, clear, 
logical, and consistent, have come, or are coming, from 
the nature of the case ; and, alas ! in addition to this 
primd-facie suspicion, there are actual tendencies in the 
same direction in Protestantism, viewed whether in its 
original idea, or again in the so-called Evangelical move- 
ment in these islands during the last century. The reli- 
gious world, as it is styled, holds, generally speaking, that 
Religion consists, not in knowledge, but in feeling or senti- 
ment. The old Catholic notion, which still lingers in the 

28 Discourse II. 

Established Church, was, that Faith was an intellectual 
act, its object truth, and its result knowledt^e. Thus it 
you look into the Anglican Prayer Book, you will find 
definite credenda, as well as definite agenda ; but in pro- 
portion as the Lutheran leaven spread, it became fashion- 
able to say that Faith was, not an acceptance of revealed 
doctrine, not an act of the intellect, but a feeling, an 
emotion, an affection, an appetency; and, as this view 
of Faith obtained, so was tiie connexion of Faith with 
Truth and Knowledge more and more either forgotten 
or denied. At length the identity of this (so-called) 
spirituality of heart and the virtue of Faith was acknow- 
ledged on all hands. Some men indeed disapproved 
the pietism in question, others admired it ; but whether 
they admired or disapproved, both the one party and 
the other found themselves in agreement on the main 
point, viz. — in considering that this really was in sub- 
stance Religion, and nothing else ; that Religion was 
based, not on argument, but on taste and sentiment, that 
nothing was objective, every thing subjective, in doctrine. 
I say, even those who saw through the affectation in 
which the religious school of which I am speaking clad 
itself, still came to think that Religion, as such, consisted 
in something short of intellectual exercises, viz., in the 
affections, in the imagination, in inward persuasions and 
consolations, in pleasurable sensations, sudden changes, 
and sublime fancies. They learned to believe and to 
take it for granted, that Religion was nothing beyond a 
siipply of the wants of human nature, not an external 
fact and a work of God, There was, it appeared, a 
demand for Religion, and therefore there was a supply ; 
human nature could not do without Religion, any more 
than it could do without bread ; a supply was absolutely 
necessary, good or bad, and, as in the case of the articles 

Theology a Branch of Knoivledge. 29 

of daily sustenance, an article which was really inferior 
was better than none at all. Thus Religion was useful, 
venerable, beautiful, the sanction of order, the stay of 
government, the curb of self-will and self-indulgence, 
which the laws cannot reach : but, after all, on what was 
it based ? Why, that was a question delicate to ask, 
and imprudent to answer ; but, if the truth must be 
spoken, however reluctantly, the long and the short of 
the matter was this, that Religion was based on custom, 
on prejudice, on law, on education, on habit, on loyalty, 
on feudalism, on enlightened expedience, on many, 
many things, but not at all on reason ; reason was nei- 
ther its warrant, nor its instrument, and science had as 
little connexion with it as with the fashions of the season, 
or the state of the weather. 

You see, Gentlemen, how a theory or philosophy, 
which began with the religious changes of the sixteenth 
century, has led to conclusions, which the authors of 
those changes would be the first to denounce, and has 
been taken up by that large and influential body which 
goes by the name of Liberal or Latitudinarian ; and how, 
where it prevails, it is as unreasonable of course to de- 
mand for Religion a chair in a University, as to demand 
one for fine feeling, sense of honour, patriotism, grati- 
tude, maternal affection, or good companionship, pro- 
posals which would be simply unmeaning. 

Now, in illustration of what I have been saying, I will 
appeal, in the first place, to a statesman, but not merely 
so, to no mere politician, no trader in places, or in votes, 
or in the stock market, but to a philosopher, to an orator, 
to one whose profession, whose aim, has ever been to 
cultivate the fair, the noble, and the generous. I cannot 

30 Discourse II. 

forget the celebrated discourse of the celebrated man to 
whom I am referring ; a man who is first in his peculiar 
walk; and who, moreover (which is much to my purpose), 
has had a share, as much as any one alive, in effecting 
the public recognition in these Islands of the principle 
of separating secular and religious knowledge. This 
brilliant thinker, during the years in which he was exert- 
ing himself in behalf of this principle, made a speech 
or discourse, on occasion of a public solemnity ; and in 
reference to the bearing of general knowledge upon reli- 
gious belief, he spoke as follows : 

''*As men," he said, " will no longer suffer themselves 
to be led blindfold in ignorance, so will they no more 
yield to the vile principle of judging and treating their 
fellow-creatures, not according to the intrinsic merit of 
their actions, but according to the accidental and in- 
voluntary coincidence of their opinions. The great 
truth has finally gone forth to all the ends of the earth," 
and he prints it in capital letters, " that man shall no more 
render account to man for his belief, over which he has 
himself no control. Henceforward, nothing shall prevail 
upon us to praise or to blame any one for that which he 
can no more change, than he can the hue of his skin or 
the height of his stature."* You see. Gentlemen, if this 
philosopher is to decide the matter, religious ideas are 
just as far from being real, or representing anything 
beyond themselves, are as truly peculiarities, idiosyn- 
cracies, accidents of the individual, as his having the 
stature of a Patagonian, or the features of a Negro. 

But perhaps this was the rhetoric of an excited 
moment. Far from it. Gentlemen, or I should not have 
fastened on the words of a fertile mind, uttered so long 
ago. What Mr. Brougham laid down as a principle in 

• Mr. Brougham's Glasgow Discourse. 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 31 

1825, resounds on all sides of us, with ever-growing con- 
fidence and success, in 1852. I open the Minutes of 
the Committee of Council on Education for the years 
1848-50, presented to both Houses of Parhament by com- 
mand of Her JMajesty, and I find one of Her Majesty s 
Inspectors of Schools, at p. 467 of the second volume, 
dividing "the topics usually embraced in the better class 
of primary schools" into four : — the knowledge of signs, 
as reading and writing ; of facts, as geography and 
astronomy ; of relations and laws, as mathematics ; atnd ^,, 
lastly sentiment, such as poetry and music. Nqw, ojtfr 
first catching sight of this division, it occurred^KTal^e'^o 
ask myself, before ascertaining the writer's^wn resolu- 
tion of the matter, under which of these four heads 
would fall Religion, or whether it fell under any of them. 
Did he put it aside as a thing too delicate and sacred 
to be enumerated with earthly studies .'' or did he dis- 
tinctly contemplate it when he made his division.'' Any- 
how, I could really find a place for it under the first 
head, or the second, or the third ; — for it has to do 
with facts, since it tells of the Self-subsisting ; it has 
to do with relations, for it tells of the Creator ; it 
has to do with signs, for it tells of the due manner of 
speaking of Him. There was just one head of the 
division to which I could not refer it, viz., to sentiment ; 
for, I suppose, music and poetry, which are the writer's 
own examples of sentiment, have not much to do with 
Truth, which is the main object of Religion. Judge then 
my surprise. Gentlemen, when I found the fourth was 
the very head selected by the writer of the Report in 
question, as the special receptacle of religious topics. 
" The inculcation oi senii7nent," he says, "embraces read- 
ing in its higher sense, poetry, music, together with 
moral and religious Education." I am far Irom intro- 

3 2 Discourse II. 

ducing this writer for his own sake, because I have no 
wish to hurt the feelings of a gentleman, who is but 
exerting himself zealously in the discharge of anxious 
duties ; but, taking him as an illustration of the wide- 
spreading school of thought to which he belongs, I ask 
what can more clearly prove than a candid avowal like 
this, that, in the view of his school, Relig'on is not 
knowledge, has nothing whatever to do with knowledge, 
and is excluded from a University course of instruction, 
not simply because the exclusion cannot be helped, 
from political or social obstacles, but because it has no 
business there at all, because it is to be considered 
a taste, sentiment, opinion, and nothing more ? 

The writer avows this conclusion himself, in the ex- 
planation into which he presently enters, in which he 
says : " According to the classification proposed, the 
essential idea of all religious Education will consist in the 
direct cultivation of the feelings." What we contemplate, 
then, what we aim at, when we give a religious Educa- 
tion, is, it seems, not to impart any knowledge whatever, 
but to satisfy anyhow desires after the Unseen which 
will arise in our minds in spite of ourselves, to provide the 
mind with a means of self-command, to impress on it the 
beautiful ideas which saints and sages have struck out, to 
embellish it with the bright hues of a celestial piety, to 
teach it the poetry of devotion, the music of well-ordered 
affections, and the luxur)' of doing good. As for the in- 
tellect, its exercise happens to be unavoidable, whenever 
moral impressions are made, from the constitution of the 
human mind, but it varies in the results of that exercise, 
in the conclusions which it draws from our impressions, 
according to the peculiarities of the individual. 

Something like this seems to be the writer's mean- 
ing, but we need not pry into its finer issues in order to 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 33 

gain a distinct view of its general bearing ; and taking 
it, as I think we fairly may take it, as a specimen of the 
philosophy of the day, as adopted by those who are not 
conscious unbelievers, or open scoffers, I consider it 
amply explains how it comes to pass that this day's phi- 
losophy sets up a system of universal knowledge, and 
teaches of plants, and earths, and creeping things, and 
beasts, and gases, about the crust of the earth and the 
changes of the atmosphere, about sun, moon, and stars, 
about man and his doings, about the history of the world, 
about sensation, memory, and the passions, about duty, 
about cause and effect, about all things imaginable, 
except one — and that is, about Him that made all these 
things, about God. I say the reason is plain because 
they consider knowledge, as regards the creature, is 
illimitable, but impossible or hopeless as regards the 
being and attributes and works of the Creator. 

Here, however, it may be objected to me that this re- 
presentation is certainly extreme, for the school in ques- 
tion does, in fact, lay great stress on the evidence afforded 
by the creation, to the Being and Attributes of the 
Creator. I may be referred, for instance, to the words of 
one of the speakers on a memorable occasion. At the 
very time of laying the first stone of the University of 
London, I confess it, a learned person, since elevated to 
the Protestant See of Durham, which he still fills, opened 
the proceedings with prayer. He addressed the Deity, as 
the authoritative Report informs us, "the whole sur- 
rounding assembly standing uncovered in solemn silence." 
" Thou," he said, in the name of all present, " thou hast 
constructed the vast fabric of the universe in so wonder- 
ful a manner, so arranged its motions, and so formed its 
7* X 

34 Discourse 11, 

productions, that the contemplation and study of thy 
works exercise at once the mind in the pursuit of human 
science, and lead it onwards to Divine Truth." Here is 
apparently a distinct recognition that there is such a 
thing as Truth in the province of Religion ; and, did the 
passage stand by itself, and were it the only means we 
possessed of ascertaining the sentiments of the powerful 
body whom this distinguished person there represented, 
it would, as far as it goes, be satisfactory. I admit it ; 
and I admit also the recognition of the Being and cer- 
tain Attributes of the Deity, contained in the writings of 
the gifted person whom I have already quoted, whose 
genius, versatile and multiform as it is, in nothing has 
been so constant, as in its devotion to the advancement 
of knowledge, scientific and literary. He then certainly, 
in his " Discourse of the objects, advantages, and plea- 
sures of science," after variously illustrating what he 
terms its " gratifying treats," crowns the catalogue with 
mention of " the highest of all our gratifications in the 
contemplation of SLience," which he proceeds to explain 
thus : 

" We are raised by them," says he, " to an understand- 
ing of the infinite wisdom and goodness which the Creator 
his displayed in all His works. Not a step can be taken 
in any direction," he continues, "without perceiving the 
most extraordinary traces of design ; and the skill, every 
where conspicuous, is calculated in so vast a proportion 
of instances to promote the happiness of living creatures, 
and especially of ourselves, that we can feel no hesitation 
in concluding, that, if we knew the whole scheme of 
Providence, every part would be in harmony with a plan 
of absolute benevolence. Independent, however, of this 
most consoling inference, the delight is inexpressible, of 
being able to follow, as it were, with our eyes, the mar- 

Theology a Branch of Knoivledge. 35 

vellous works of the Great Architect of Nature, to trace 
the unbounded power and exquisite skill which are 
exhibited in the most minute, as well as the mightiest 
parts of His system. The pleasure derived from this 
study is unceasing, and so various, that it never tires the 
appetite. But it is unlike the low gratifications of sense 
in another respect ; it elevates and refines our nature, 
while those hurt the health, debase the understanding, 
and corrupt the feelings ; it teaches us to look upon all 
earthly objects as insignificant and below our notice, 
except the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of 
virtue, that is to say, the strict performance of our duty 
in every relation of society ; and it gives a dignity and 
importance to the enjoyment of life, which the frivolous 
and the grovelling cannot even comprehend." 

Such are the words of this prominent champion of 
Mixed Education. If logical inference be, as it un- 
doubtedly is, an instrument of truth, surely, it may be 
answered to me, in admitting the possibility of inferring 
the Divine Being and Attributes from the phenomena 
of nature, he distinctly admits a basis of truth for the 
doctrines of Religion. 


I wish. Gentlemen, to give these representations their 
full weight, both from the gravity of the question, and 
the consideration due to the persons whom I am arraio-n- 
ing ; but, before I can feel sure I understand them, I 
must ask an abrupt question. When I am told, then, by 
the partisans of Universities without Theological teaching, 
that human science leads to belief in a Supreme Being, 
without denying the fact, nay, as a Catholic, with full 
conviction of it, nevertheless I am obliged to ask what 
the statement means in their mouths, what they, the 

36 Discourse II. 

speakers, understand by the word " God." Let me not 
be thought offensive, if I question, whether it means the 
same thing on the two sides of the controversy. With 
us CathoHcs, as with the first race of Protestants, as with 
Mahometans, and all Theists, the word contains, as I 
have already said, a theology in itself. At the risk of 
anticipating what I shall have occasion to insist upon in 
my next Discourse, let me say that, according to the 
teaching of Monotheism, God is an Individual, Self- 
dependent, All-perfect, Unchangeable Being ; intelligent, 
living, personal, and present ; almighty, all-seeing, all- 
remembering; between whom and His creatures there is 
an infinite gulf ; who has no origin, who is all-sufficient 
for Himself ; who created and upholds the universe ; who 
will judge every one of us, sooner or later, according to 
that Law of right and wrong which He has written on 
our hearts. He is One who is sovereign over, operative 
amidst, independent of, the appointments which He has 
made; One in whose hands are all things, who has a pur- 
pose in every event, and a standard for every deed, and 
thus has relations of His own towards the subject-matter 
of each particular science which the book of knowledge 
unfolds ; who has with an adorable, never-ceasing energy 
implicated Himself in all the history of creation, the 
constitution of nature, the course of the world, the 
origin of society, the fortunes of nations, the action of the 
human mind ; and who thereby necessarily becomes the 
subject-matter of a science, far wider and more noble than 
any of those which are included in the circle of secular 

This is the doctrine which belief in a God implies in 
the mind of a Catholic : if it means any thing, it means 
all this, and cannot keep from meaning all this, and a 
great deal more ; and, even though there were nothing 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 37 

in the religious tenets of the last three centuries to dis- 
parage dogmatic truth, still, even then, I should have 
difficulty in believing that a doctrine so mysterious, so 
peremptory, approved itself as a matter of course to 
educated men of this day, who gave their minds atten- 
tively to consider it. Rather, in a state of society such 
as ours, in which authority, prescription, tradition, habit, 
moral instinct, and the divine influences go for nothing, 
in which patience of thought, and depth and consistency 
of view, are scorned as subtle and scholastic, in which 
free discussion and fallible judgment are prized as the 
birthright of each individual, I must be excused if I 
exercise towards this age, as regards its belief in this 
doctrine, some portion of that scepticism which it 
exercises itself towards every received but unscrutinized 
assertion whatever. I cannot take it for granted, I must 
have it brought home to me by tangible evidence, that 
the spirit of the age means by the Supreme Being what 
Catholics mean. Nay, it would be a relief to my mind 
to gain some ground of assurance, that the parties in- 
fluenced by that spirit had, I will not say, a true apprehen- 
sion of God, but even so much as the idea of what a true 
apprehension is. 

Nothing is easier than to use the word, and mean no- 
thing by it. The heathens used to say, •' God wills," 
when they meant " Fate ;" " God provides," when they 
meant " Chance ;" " God acts," when they meant " In- 
stinct" or " Sense ;" and " God is every where," when 
they meant " the Soul of Nature." The Almighty is 
something infinitely different from a principle, or a 
centre of action, or a quality, or a generalization of 
phenomena. If, then, by the word, you do but mean a 
Being who keeps the world in order, who acts in it, but 
only in the way of general Provic'ence, who acts towards 

38 Discourse II. 

us but only through what are called laws of Nature, 
who is more certain not to act at all than to act independ- 
ent of those laws, who is known and approached indeed, 
but only through the medium of those laws ; such a God 
it is not difficult for any one to conceive, not difficult for 
any one to endure. If, I say, as you would revolu- 
tionize society, so you would revolutionize heaven, if you 
have changed the divine sovereignty into a sort of con- 
stitutional monarchy, in which the Throne has honour 
and ceremonial enough, but cannot issue the most 
ordinary command except through legal forms and 
precedents, and with the counter-signature of a minister, 
then belief in a God is no more than an acknowledgment 
of existing, sensible powers and phenomena, which none 
but an idiot can deny. If the Supreme Being is power- 
ful or skilful, just so far forth as the telescope shows 
power, and the microscope shows skill, if His moral law 
is to be ascertained simply by the physical processes of 
the animal frame, or His will gathered from the im- 
mediate issues of human affairs, if His Essence is just as 
high and deep and broad and long as the universe, 
and no more ; if this be the fact, then will I confess 
that there is no specific science about God, that theo- 
logy is but a name, and a protest in its behalf an 
hypocrisy. Then is He but coincident with the laws of 
the universe ; then is He biat a function, or correlative, 
or subjective reflection and mental impression, of each 
phenomenon of the material or moral world, as it flits 
before us. Then, pious as it is to think of Him, while 
the pageant of experiment or abstract reasoning passes 
by, still, such pie;y is nothing more than a poetry of 
thought or an Ornament of language, and has not even 
an infinitesimal influence upon philosophy or science, of 
which it is rather the parasitical production. 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 39 

I understand, in that case, why Theology should require 
no specific teaching, for there is nothing to mistake 
about ; why it is powerless against scientific anticipations, 
for it merely is one of them ; why it is simply absurd in 
its denunciations of heresy, for heresy does not lie in the 
region of fact and experiment I understand, in that 
case, how it is that the religious sense is but a " senti- 
ment," and its exercise a " gratifying treat," for it is like 
the sense of the beautiful or the sublime. I understand 
how the contemplation of the universe "leads onwards to 
divine truth," for divine truth is not something separate 
from Nature, but it is Nature with a divine glow upon 
it. I understand the zeal expressed for Physical Theo- 
logy, for this study is but a mode of looking at Physical 
Nature, a certain view taken of Nature, private and 
personal, which one man has, and another has not, which 
gifted minds strike out, which others see to be admirable 
and ingenious, and which all would be the better for 
adopting. It is but the theology of Nature, just as we 
talk of the philosophy or the romance of history, or the 
poetry of childhood, or the picturesque, or the sentimen- 
tal, or the humorous, or any other abstract quality, which 
the genius or the caprice of the individual, or the fashion 
of the day, or the consent of the world, recognizes in 
any set of objects which are subjected to its contem- 


Such ideas of religion seem to me short of Monotheism ; 
I do not impute them to this or that individual who be- 
longs to the school which gives them currency ; but what 
I read about the " gratification " of keeping pace in our 
scientific researches with "the Architect of Nature;" 
about the said gratification " giving a dignity and import- 
ance to the enjoyment of life." and teaching us that 

40 Discourse II. 

knowledge and our duties to society are the only earthly 
objects worth our notice, all this, I own it, Gentlemen, 
frightens me ; nor is Dr. Maltby's address to the Deity 
sufficient to reassure me. I do not see much difference 
between avowing that there is no God, and implying that 
nothing definite can for certain be known about Him ; 
and when I find Religious Education treated as the cul- 
tivation of sentiment, and Religious Belief as the acci- 
dental hue or posture of the mind, I am reluctantly but 
forcibly reminded of a very unpleasant page of Meta- 
physics, viz., of the relations between God and Nature 
insinuated by such philosophers as Hume. This acute, 
though most low-minded of speculators, in his inquiry 
concerning the Human Understanding, introduces, as is 
well known, Epicurus, that is, a teacher of atheism, de- 
livering an harangue to the Athenian people, not indeed 
in defence, but in extenuation of that opinion. His ob- 
ject is to show that, whereas the atheistic view is nothing 
else than the repudiation of theory, and an accurate 
representation of phenomenon and fact, it cannot be 
dangerous, unless phenomenon and fact be dangerous. 
Epicurus is made to say, that the paralogism of philo- 
sophy has ever been that of arguing from Nature in 
behalf of something beyond Nature, greater than Nature ; 
whereas, God, as he maintains, being known only 
through the visible world, our knowledge of Him is ab- 
solutely commensurate with our knowledge of it, — is 
nothing distinct from it, — is but a mode of viewing it. 
Hence it follows that, provided we admit, as we cannot 
help admitting, the phenomena of Nature and the world, 
it is only a question of words whether or not we go on 
to the hypothesis of a second Being, not visible but im- 
material, parallel and coincident with Nature, to whom 
we give the name of God. " Allowing," he says, " the 

Theology a Branch of Knowledge. 41 

gods to be the authors of the existence or order of the 
universe, it follows that they possess that precise degree 
of power, intelligence, and benevolence, which appears 
in their workmanship ; but nothing farther can be proved, 
except we call in the assistance of exaggeration and 
flattery to supply the defects of argument and reasoning. 
So far as the traces of any attributes, at present, appear, 
so far may we conclude these attributes to exist. The 
supposition of farther attributes is mere hypothesis ; 
much more the supposition that, in distant periods of 
place and time, there has been, or will be, a more magni- 
ficent display of these attributes, and a scheme of admin- 
istration more suitable to such imaginary virtues." 

Here is a reasoner, who would not hesitate to deny 
that there is any distinct science or philosophy possible 
concerning the Supreme Being ; since every single thing 
we know of Him is this or that or the other phenomenon, 
material or moral, which already falls under this or that 
natural science. In him then it would be only consistent 
to drop Theology in a course of University Education : 
but how is it consistent in any one who shrinks from his 
com.panionship .-• I am glad to see that the author, 
several times mentioned, is in opposition to Hume, in 
one sentence of the quotation I have made from his 
Discourse upon Science, deciding, as he does, that the 
phenomena of the material world are insufficient for the 
full exhibition of the Divine Attributes, and implying 
that they require a supplemental process to complete 
and harmonize their evidence. But is not this supple- 
mental process a science .-* and if so, why not acknow- 
ledge its existence .'' If God is more than Nature, 
Theology claims a place among the sciences : but, on the 
other hand, if you are not sure of as much as this, how 
do you differ from Hume or Epicurus ? 

42 Discourse J I. 


I end then as I began : religious doctrine is knowledge. 
This is the important truth, little entered into at this day, 
which I wish that all who have honoured me with their 
presence here would allow me to beg them to take away 
with them. I am not catching at sharp arguments, but 
laying down grave principles. Religious doctrine is 
knowledge, in as full a sense as Newton's doctrine is 
knowledge. University Teaching without Theology is 
simply unphilosophical. Theology has at least as good 
a right to claim a place there as Astronomy. 

In my next Discourse it will be my object to show 
that its omission from the list of recognized sciences is 
not only indefensible in itself, but prejudicial to ail the 





WHEN men of great intellect, who have long and 
intently and exclusively given themselves to the 
study or investigation of some one particular branch of 
secular knowledge, whose mental life is concentrated and 
hidden in their chosen pursuit, and who have neither 
eyes nor ears for any thing which does not immediately 
bear upon it, when such men are at length made to realize 
that there is a clamour all around them, which must be 
heard, for what they have been so little accustomed to 
place in the category of knowledge as Religion, and that 
they themselves are accused of disaffection to it, they are 
impatient at the interruption ; they call the demand 
tyrannical, and the requisitionists bigots or fanatics. 
They are tempted to say, that their only wish is to be 
let alone; for themselves, they are not dreaming of offend- 
ing any one, or interfering with any one ; they are pur- 
suing their own particular line, they have never spoken a 
word against any one's religion, whoever he may be, 
and never mean to do so. It does not follow that they 
deny the existence of a God, because they are not found 
talking of it, when the topic would be utterly irrelevant. 

44 Discourse III. 

All they say is, that there are other beings in the world 
besides the Supreme Being; their business is with them. 
After all, the creation is not the Creator, nor things 
secular religious. Theology and human science are two 
things, not one, and have their respective provinces, 
contiguous it may be and cognate to each other, but not 
identical. When we are contemplating earth, we are not 
contemplating heaven ; and when we are contemplating 
heaven, we are not contemplating earth. Separate sub- 
jects should be treated separately. As division of labour, 
so division of thought is the only means of successful 
application. " Let us go our own way," they say, " and 
you go yours. We do not pretend to lecture on Theology, 
and you have no claim to pronounce upon Science." 

With this feeling they attempt a sort of compromise, 
between their opponents who claim for Theology a free 
introduction into the Schools of Science, and themselves 
who would exclude it altogether, and it is this : viz., that 
it should remain indeed excluded from the public 
schools, but that it should be permitted in private, 
wherever a sufficient number of persons is found to 
desire it. Such persons, they seem to say, may have it 
all their own way, when they are by themselves, so that 
they do not attempt to disturb a comprehensive system 
of instruction, acceptable and useful to all, by the in- 
trusion of opinions peculiar to their own minds. 

I am now going to attempt a philosophical answer to 
this representation, that is, to the project of teaching 
secular knowledge in the University Lecture Room, and 
remanding religious knowledge to the parish priest, the 
catechism, and the parlour ; and in doing so, you must 
pardon me, Gentlemen, if my subject should oblige me 
to pursue a lengthy and careful course of thought, which 
may be wearisome to the hearer : — I begin then thus : — 

Bearing of Theology on OtJier Knowledge, 45 


Truth is the object of Knowledge of whatever kind ; 
and when we inquire what is meant by Truth, I suppose 
it is right to answer that Truth means facts and their 
relations, which stand towards each other pretty much 
as subjects and predicates in logic. All that exists, as 
contemplated by the human mind, forms one large 
system or complex fact, and this of course resolves itself 
into an indefinite number of particular facts, which, as 
being portions of a whole, have countless relations of 
every kind, one towards another. Knowledge is the 
apprehension of these facts, whether in themselves, or in 
their mutual positions and bearings. And, as all taken 
together form one integral subject for contemplation, so 
there are no natural or real limits between part and 
part ; one is ever running into another ; all, as viewed 
by the mind, are combined together, and possess a 
correlative character one with another, from the internal 
mysteries of the Divine Essence down to our own sen- 
sations and consciousness, from the most solemn appoint- 
ments of the Lord of all down to what may be called the 
accident of the hour, from the most glorious seraph down 
to the vilest and most noxious of reptiles. 

Now, it is not wonderful that, with all its capabilities, 
the human mind cannot take in this whole vast fact at a 
single glance, or gain possession of it at once. Like a 
short-sighted reader, its eye pores closely, and travels 
slowly, over the awful volume which lies open for its in- 
spection. Or again, as we deal with some huge structure 
of many parts and sides, the mind goes round about it, 
noting down, first one thing, then another, as it best may, 
and viewing it under different aspects, byway of making 
progress towards mastering the whole. So by degrees 

46 Discourse III. 

and by circuitous advances does it rise aloft and subject 
to itself a knowledge of that universe into which it has 
been born. 

These various partial views or abstractions, by means 
of which the mind looks out upon its object, are called 
sciences, and embrace respectively larger or smaller por- 
tions of the field of knowledge ; sometimes extending far 
and wide, but superficially, sometimes with exactness 
over particular departments, sometimes occupied together 
on one and the same portion, sometimes holding one part 
in common, and then ranging on this side or that in abso- 
lute divergence one from the other. Thus Optics has for 
its subject the whole visible creation, so far forth as it is 
simply visible ; Mental Philosophy has a narrower pro- 
vince, but a richer one. Astronomy, plane and physical, 
each has the same subject-matter, but views it or treats 
it differently; lastly, Geology and Comparative Anatomy 
have subject-matters partly the same, partly distinct. 
Now these views or sciences, as being abstractions, have 
far more to do with the relations of things than with 
things themselves. They tell us what things are, only or 
principally by telling us their relations, or assigning pre- 
dicates to subjects ; and therefore they never tell us all 
that can be said about a thing, even when they tell some- 
thing, nor do they bring it before us, as the senses do. 
They arrange and classify facts ; they reduce separate 
phenomena under a common law ; they trace effects to a 
cause. Thus they serve to transfer our knowledge from 
the custody of memory to the surer and more abiding 
protection of philosophy, thereby providing both for its 
spread and its advance : — for, inasmuch as sciences are 
forms of knowledge, they enable the intellect to master 
and increase it ; and, inasmuch as they are instruments, 
to communicate it readily to others. Still, after all, they 

Bearing of Thcohgy on Other Knowledge. 47 

proceed on the principle of a division of labour, even 
though that division is an abstraction, not a literal 
separation into parts ; and, as the maker of a bridle or 
an epaulet has not, on that account, any idea of the 
science of tactics or strategy, so in a parallel way, it is 
not every science which equally, nor any one which fully, 
enlightens the mind in the knowledge of things, as they 
are, or brings home to it the external object on which it 
wishes to gaze. Thus they differ in importance ; and 
according to their importance will be their influence, 
not only on the mass of knowledge to which they all 
converge and contribute, but on each other. 

Since then sciences are the results of mental processes 
about one and the same subject-matter, viewed under its 
various aspects, and are true results, as far as they go, 
yet at the same time separate and partial, it follows that 
on the one hand they need external assistance, one by 
one, by reason of their incompleteness, and on the other 
that they are able to afford it to each other, by reason, 
first, of their independence in themselves, and then of 
their connexion in their subject-matter. Viewed alto- 
gether, they approximate to a representation or sub- 
jective reflection of the objective truth, as nearly as is 
possible to the human mind, which advances towards the 
accurate apprehension of that object, in proportion to 
the number of sciences which it has mastered ; and 
which, when certain sciences are away, in such a case has 
but a defective apprehension, in proportion to the value 
of the sciences which are thus wanting, and the import- 
ance of the field on which they are employed. 


Let us take, for instance, man himself as our object of 
contemplation ; then at once we shall find we can view 

48 Discourse III. 

htm in a variety of relations ; and according to those 
relationsare thesciences of which he is the subject-matter, 
and according to our acquaintance with them is our pos- 
session of a true knowledge of him. We may view him 
in relation to the material elements of his body, or to his 
mental constitution, or to his household and family, or 
to the community in which he lives, or to the Being who 
made him ; and in consequence we treat of him respec- 
tively as physiologists, or as moral philosophers, or as 
writers of economics, or of politics, or as theologians. 
When we think of him in all these relations together, or 
as the subject at once of all the sciences I have named, 
then we may be said to reach unto and rest in the idea 
of man as an object or external fact, similar to that which 
the eye takes of his outward form. On the other hand, 
according as we are only physiologists, or only politicians, 
or only moralists, so is our idea of man more or less 
unreal; we do not take in the whole of him, and the 
defect is greater or less, in proportion as the relation is, 
or is not, important, which is omitted, whether his relation 
to God, or to his king, or to his children, or to his own 
component parts. And if there be one relation, about 
which we know nothing at all except that it exists, then 
is our knowledge of him, confessedly and to our own 
consciousness, deficient and partial, and that, I repeat, 
in proportion to the importance of the relation. 

That therefore is true of sciences in general which we 
are apt to think applies only to pure mathematics, though 
to pure mathematics it applies especially, viz., that they 
cannot be considered as simple representations or in- 
formants of things as they are. We are accustomed to 
say, and say truly, that the conclusions of pure mathe- 
matics are applied, corrected, and adapted, by mixed ; 
but so too the conclusions of Anatomy, Chemistry, 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 49 

Dynamics, and other sciences, are revised and completed 
by each other. Those several conclusions do not represent 
whole and substantive things, but views, true, so far 
as they go ; and in order to ascertain how far they 
do go, that is. how far they correspond to the object 
to which they belong, we must compare them with the 
\iews taken out of that object by other sciences. Did 
we proceed upon the abstract theory of forces, we should 
assign a much more ample range to a projectile than in 
fact the resistance of the air allows it to accomplish. 
Let, however, that resistance be made the subject ot 
scientific analysis, and then we shall have a new 
science, assisting, and to a certain point completing, for 
the benefit of questions of fact, the science of projection. 
On the other hand, the science of projection itself, con- 
sidered as belonging to the forces it contemplates, is 
not more perfect, as such, by this supplementary in- 
vestigation. And in like manner, as regards the whole 
circle of sciences, one corrects another for purposes of 
fact, and one without the other cannot dogmatize, except 
hypothetically and upon its own abstract principles. For 
instance, the Newtonian philosophy requires the admis- 
sion of certain metaphysical postulates, if it is to be more 
than a theory or an hypothesis ; as, for instance, that 
what happened yesterday will happen to-morrow ; that 
there is such a thing as matter, that our senses are trust- 
worthy, that there is a logic of induction, and so on. 
Now to Newton metaphysicians grant all that he asks ; 
but, if so be, they may not prove equally accommodating 
to another who asks something else, and then all his 
most logical conclusions in the science of physics would 
remain hopelessly on the stocks, though finished, and 
never could be launched into the sphere of fact. 

Again, did I know nothing about the movement of 
?• 4 

50 Discourse III. 

bodies, except what the theory of gravitation supplies, 
were I simply absorbed in that theory so as to make 
it measure all motion on earth and ifi the sky, I should 
indeed come to many right conclusions, I should hit off 
many important facts, ascertain many existing relations, 
and correct many popular errors : I should scout and 
ridicule with great success the old notion, that light bodies 
flew up and heavy bodies fell down ; but I should go on 
with equal confidence to deny the phenomenon of capil- 
lary attraction. Here I should be wrong, but only be- 
cause I carried out my science irrespectively of other 
sciences. In like manner, did I simply give myself to 
the investigation of the external action of body upon 
body, I might scoff at the very idea of chemical affinities 
and combinations, and reject it as simply unintelligible. 
Were I a mere chemist, I should deny the influence of 
mind upon bodily health ; and so on, as regards the 
devotees of any science, or family of sciences, to the ex- 
clusion of others ; they necessarily become bigots and 
quacks, scorning all principles and reported facts which 
do not belong to their own pursuit, and thinking to effect 
everything without aid from any other quarter. Thus, 
before now, chemistry has been substituted for medicine ; 
and again, political economy, or intellectual enlighten- 
ment, or the reading of the Scriptures, has been cried up 
as a panacea against vice, malevolence, and misery. 

Summing up, Gentlemen, what I have said, I lay it 
down that all knowledge forms one whole, because its 
subject-matter is one ; for the universe in its length and 
breadth is so intimately knit together, that we cannot 
separate off portion from portion, and operation from 
operation, except by a mental abstraction ; and then 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 5 1 

again, as to its Creator, though He of course in His own 
Being is infinitely separate from it, and Theology has its 
departments towards which human knowledge has no 
relations, yet He has so implicated Himself with it, and 
taken it into His very bosom, by His presence in it, His 
providence over it, His impressions upon it, and His 
influences through it, that we cannot truly or fully con- 
template it without in some main aspects contemplating 
Him. Next, sciences are the results of that mental 
abstraction, which I have spoken of, being the logical 
record of this or that aspect of the whole subject-matter 
of knowledge. As they all belong to one and the same 
circle of objects, they are one and all connected to- 
gether ; as they are but aspects of things, they are 
severally incomplete in their relation to the things them- 
selves, though complete in their own idea and for their 
own respective purposes ; on both accounts they at once 
need and subserve each other. And further, the com- 
prehension of the bearings of one science on another, 
and the use of each to each, and the location and limi- 
tation and adjustment and due appreciation of them all, 
one with another, this belongs, I conceive, to a sort of 
science distinct from all of them, and in some sense a 
science of sciences, which is my own conception of what 
is meant by Pnilosophy, in the true sense of the word, 
and of a philosophical habit of mind, and which in these 
Discourses I shall call by that name. This is what I 
have to say about knowledge and philosophical know- 
ledge generally ; and now I proceed to apply it to the 
particular science, which has led me to draw it out. 

I say, then, that the systematic omission of any one 
science from the catalogue prejudices the accuracy and 
completeness of our knowledge altogether, and that, in 
proportion to its importance. Not even Theology itself, 

52 Discourse III. 

though it comes from heaven, though its truths were 
given once for all at the first, though they are more 
certain on account of the Giver than those of mathe- 
matics, not even Theology, so far as it is relative to us, 
or is the Science of Religion, do I exclude from the law 
to which every mental exercise is subject, viz., from that 
imperfection, which ever must attend the abstract, when 
it would determine the concrete. Nor do I speak only 
of Natural Religion ; for even the teaching of the Catho- 
lic Church, in certain of its aspects, that is, its religious 
teaching, is variously influenced by the other sciences. 
Not lo insist on the introduction of the Aristotelic philo- 
sophy into its phraseology, its explanation of dogmas 
is influenced by ecclesiastical acts or events ; its inter- 
pretations of prophecy are directly afi"ected by the i.ssues 
of history ; its comments upon Scripture by the con- 
clusions of the astronomer and the geologist ; and its 
casuistical decisions by the various experience, poUtical, 
social, and psychological, with which times and places 
are ever supplying it. 

What Theology gives, it has a right to take ; or rather, 
the interests of Truth oblige it to take. If we would not 
be beguiled by dreams, if we would ascertain facts as 
they are, then, granting Theology is a real science, we 
cannot exclude it, and still call ourselves philosophers. 
I have asserted nothing as yet as to the pre-eminent 
dignity of Religious Truth ; I only say, if there be 
Religious Truth at all, we cannot shut our eyes to it 
without prejudice to truth of every kind, physical, meta- 
physical, historical, and moral ; for it bears upon all 
truth. And thus I answer the objection with which I 
opened this Discourse. I supposed the question put to 
me by a philosopher of the day, " Why cannot you go 
your way, and let us go ours?" I answer, in the name 

Bearing of TJuology on Other Knowledge, 5 3 

of the Science of Relip^ion, "When Newton can dis- 
pense with the metaphysician, then may you dispense 
with us." So much at first sight ; now I am going on to 
claim a Httle more for Theology, by classing it with 
branches of knowledge which may with greater decency 
be compared to it. 

Let us see, then, how this supercilious treatment of so 
momentous a science, for momentous it must be, if there 
be a God, runs in a somewhat parallel case. The great 
philosopher of antiquity, when he would enumerate the 
causes of the things that take place in the world, after 
making mention of those which he considered to be 
physical and material, adds, " and the mind and every- 
thing which is by means of man."* Certainly ; it would 
have been a preposterous course, when he would trace 
the effects he saw around him to their respective sources, 
had he directed his exclusive attention upon some one 
class or order of originating principles, and ascribed 
to these everything which happened anywhere. It 
would indeed have been unworthy a genius so curious, 
so penetrating, so fertile, so analytical as Aristotle's, to 
have laid it down that everything on the face of the 
earth could be accounted for by the material sciences, 
without the hypothesis of moral agents. It is incredible 
that in the investigation of physical results he could 
ignore so influential a being as man, or forget that, not 
only brute force and elemental movement, but know- 
ledge also is power. And this so much the more, inas- 
much as moral and spiritual agents belong to another, 
not to say a higher, order than physical ; so that the 
omission supposed would not have been merely an 

• Arist. Ethic. Nicom., iii. 3. 

54 Discourse III. 

oversight in matters of detail, but a philosophical error, 
and a fault in division. 

However, we live in an age of the world when the 
career of science and literature is little affected by what 
was done, or would have been done, by this venerable 
authority ; so, we will suppose, in England or Ireland, in 
the middle of the nineteenth century, a set of persons of 
name and celebrity to meet together, in spite of Aristotle, 
in order to adopt a line of proceeding which they conceive 
the circumstances of the time render imperative. We will 
suppose that a difficulty just now besets the enunciation 
and discussion of all matters of science, in consequence 
of the extreme sensitiveness of large classes of the com- 
munity, clergy and laymen, on the subjects of necessity, 
responsibility, the standard of morals, and the nature of 
virtue. Parties run so high, that the only way of avoid- 
ing constant quarrelling in defence of this or that side of 
the question is, in the judgment of the persons I am sup- 
posing, to shut up the subject of anthropology altogether. 
This is accordingly done. Henceforth man is to be as if 
he were not, in the general course of Education ; the moral 
and mental sciences are to have no professorial chairs, 
and the treatment of them is to be simply left as a matter 
of private judgment, which each individual may carry out 
as he will. I can just fancy such a prohibition ab- 
stractedly possible ; but one thing I cannot fancy pos- 
sible, viz., that the parties in question, after this sweeping 
act of exclusion, should forthwith send out proposals on 
the basis of such exclusion for publishing an Encyclo- 
paedia, or erecting a National University. 

It is necessary, however, Gentlemen, for the sake of the 
illustration which I am setting before you, to imagine 
what cannot be. I say, let us imagine a project for 
organizing a system of scientific teaching, in which the 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 5 5 

agency of man in the material world cannot allowably 
be recognized, and may allowably be denied. Physical 
and mechanical causes are exclusively to be treated of ; 
volition is a forbidden subject. A prospectus is put out, 
with a list of sciences, we will say, Astronomy, Optics, 
Hydrostatics, Galvanism, Pneumatics, Statics, Dynamics, 
Pure Mathematics, Geology, Botany, Physiology, Ana- 
tomy, and so forth ; but not a word about the mind and 
its powers, except what is said in explanation of the 
omission. That explanation is to the effect that the 
parties concerned in the undertaking have given long and 
anxious thought to the subject, and have been reluctantly 
driven to the conclusion that it is simply impracticable 
to include in the list of University Lectures the Philo- 
sophy of Mind. What relieves, however, their regret is 
the reflection, that domestic feelings and polished man- 
ners are best cultivated in the family circle and in good 
society, in the observance of the sacred ties which unite 
father, mother, and child, in the correlative claims and 
duties of citizenship, in the exercise of disinterested 
loyalty and enlightened patriotism. With this apology, 
such as it is, they pass over the consideration of the 
human mind and its powers and works, "in solemn 
silence," in their scheme of University Education. 

Let a charter be obtained for it ; let professors be ap- 
pointed, lectures given, examinations passed, degrees 
awarded : — what sort of exactness or trustworthiness, 
what philosophical largeness, will attach to views formed 
in an intellectual atmosphere thus deprived of some ot 
the constituent elements of da/light .-' What judgment 
wil foreign countries and future times pass on the labours 
of the most acute and accomplished of the philosophers 
who have been parties to so portentous an unreality .-• 
Here are professors gravely lecturing on medicine, or 

56 Discourse IIL 


history, or political economy, who, so far from being bound 
to acknowledge, are free to scoff at the action of mind 
upon matter, or of mind upon mind, or the claims of 
mutual justice and charity. Common sense indeed and 
public opinion set bounds at iirst to so intolerable a 
licence ; yet, as time goes on, an omission which was 
originally but a matter of expedience, commends itself 
to the reason ; and at length a professor is found, more 
hardy than his brethren, still however, as he himself main- 
tains, with sincere respect for domestic feelings and good 
manners, who takes on him to deny psychology in toto, 
to pronounce the influence of mind in the visible world 
a superstition, and to account for every effect which is 
found in the world by the operation of physical causes. 
Hitherto intelligence and volition were accounted real 
powers ; the muscles act, and their action cannot be repre- 
sented by any scientific expression ; a stone flies out of the 
hand and the propulsive force of the muscle resides in the 
will ; but there has been a revolution, or at least a new 
theory in philosophy, and our Professor, I say, after speak- 
ing with the highest admiration of the human intellect, 
limits its independent action to the region of speculation, 
and denies that it can be a motive principle, or can exer- 
cise a special interference, in the material world. He 
ascribes every work, every external act of man, to the 
innate force or soul of the physical universe. He observes 
that spiritual agents are so mysterious and unintelligible, 
so uncertain in their laws, so vague in their operation, so 
sheltered from experience, that a wise man will have 
nothing to say to them. They belong to a different 
order of causes, which he leaves to those whose pro- 
fession it is to investigate them, and he confines himself 
to the tangible and sure. Human exploits, human devices, 
human deeds, human productions, all that comes under 

Bearing of Theology on Other Kiiowledge. 5 7 

the scholastic terms of' genius " and " art," and the meta- 
physical ideas of "duty," "right," and "heroism," it is 
his office to contemplate all these merely in their place 
in the eternal system of physical cause and effect. At 
length he undertakes to show how the whole fabric of 
material civilization has arisen from the constructive 
powers of physical elements and physical laws. He 
descants upon palaces, castles, temples, exchanges, bridges, 
causeways, and shows that they never could have grown 
into the imposing dimensions which they present to us, 
but for the laws of gravitation and the cohesion of part 
with part. The pillar would come down, the loftier the 
more speedily, did not the centre of gravity fall within its 
base ; and the most admired dome of Palladio or of Sir 
Christopher would give way, were it not for the happy 
principle of the arch. He surveys the complicated 
machinery of a single day's arrangements in a private 
family ; our dress, our furniture, our hospitable board ; 
what would become of them, he asks, but for the laws of 
physical nature ? Those laws are the causes of our 
carpets, our furniture, our travelling, and our social inter- 
course. Firm stitches have a natural power, in propor- 
tion to the toughness of the material adopted, to keep 
together separate portions of cloth ; sofas and chairs 
could not turn upside down, even if they would ; and it 
is a property of caloric to relax the fibres of animal 
matter, acting through water in one way, through oil in 
another, and this is the whole mystery of the most 
elaborate cuisine: — but I should be tedious if I con- 
tinued the illustration. 


Now, Gentlemen, pray understand how it is to be here 
applied. I am not supposing that the principles of 

58 Discourse III. 

Theology and Psychology are the same, or arguing from 
the works of man to the works of God, which Paley has 
done, which Hume has protested against. I am not 
busying myself to prove the existence and attributes of 
God, by means of the Argument from design. I am 
not proving anything at all about the Supreme Being. 
On the contrary, I am assuming His existence, and I do 
but say this : — that, man existing, no University Pro- 
fessor, who had suppressed in physical lectures the idea 
of volition, who did not take volition for granted, could 
escape a one-sided, a radically false view of the things 
which he discussed ; not indeed that his own definitions, 
principles, and laws would be wrong, or his abstract 
.statements, but his considering his own study to be the 
key of everything that takes place on the face of the 
earth, and his passing over anthropology, this would be 
his error. I say, it would not be his science which was 
untrue, but his so-called knowledge which was unreal. 
He would be deciding on facts by means of theories. 
The various busy world, spread out before our eyes, is 
physical, but it is more than physical ; and, in making 
its actual system identical with his scientific analysis, 
formed on a particular aspect, such a Professor as I have 
imagined was betraying a want of philosophical depth, 
and an ignorance of what an University Teaching ought 
to be. He was no longer a teacher of liberal knowledge, 
but a narrow-minded bigot. While his doctrines pro- 
fessed to be conclusions formed upon an hypothesis or 
partial truth, they were undeniable ; not so if they pro- 
fessed to give results in facts which he could grasp and 
take possession of Granting, indeed, that a man's arm 
is moved by a simple physical cause, then of course we 
may dispute about the various external influences which, 
when it changes its position, sway it to and fro, like a 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 59 

scarecrow in a garden ; but to assert that the motive 
cauge is physical, this is an assumption in a case, when 
our question is about a matter of fact, not about the 
logical consequences of an assumed premiss. And, in 
like manner, if a people prays, and the wind cihanges, the 
rain ceases, the sun shines, and the harvest is safely 
housed, when no one expected it, our Professor may, if 
he will, consult the barometer, discourse about the 
atmosphere, and throw what has happened into an 
equation, ingenious, even though it be not true ; but, 
should he proceed to rest the phenomenon, in matter of 
fact, simply upon a physical cause, to the exclusion of a 
divine, and to say that the given case actually belongs to 
his science because other like cases do, I must tell him, 
Ne siitor ultra crepidam : he is making his particular 
craft usurp and occupy the universe. This then is the 
drift of my illustration. If the creature is ever setting in 
motion an endless series of physical causes and effects, 
much more is the Creator ; and as our excluding volition 
from our range of ideas is a denial of the soul, so our 
ignoring Divine Agency is a virtual denial of God. 
Moreover, supposing man can will and act of himself in 
spite of physics, to shut up this great truth, though one, 
is to put our whole encyclopaedia of knowledge out of 
joint ; and supposing God can will and act of Himself in 
this world which He has made, and we deny or slur it 
over, then we are throwing the circle of universal science 
into a like, or a far worse confusion. 

Worse incomparably, for the idea of God, if there be 
a God, is infinitely higher than the idea of man, if there 
be man. If to blot out man's agency is to deface the 
book of knowledge, on the supposition of that agency 
existing, what must it be, supposing it exists, to blot out 
the agency of God .'' I have hitherto been engaged in 

Co Discourse III. 

showing that all the sciences come to us as one, that 
they all relate to one and the same integral subject- 
matter, that each separately is more or less an abstrac- 
tion, wholly true as an hypothesis, but not wholly trust- 
worthy in the concrete, conversant with relations more, 
than with facts, with principles more than with agents, 
needing the support and guarantee of its sister sciences, 
and giving in turn while it takes : — from which it follows, 
that none can safely be omitted, if we would obtain the 
exactest knowledge possible of things as they are, and 
that the omission is more or less important, in propor- 
tion to the field which each covers, and the depth to 
which it penetrates, and the order to which it belongs ; 
for its loss is a positive privation of an influence w^hich 
exerts itself in the correction and completion of the rest. 
This is a general statement ; but now as to Theology in 
particular, what, in matter of fact, are its pretensions, 
what its importance, what its influence upon other 
branches of knowledge, supposing there be a God, which 
it would not become me to set about proving? Has it 
vast dimensions, or does it lie in a nutshell ? Will its 
omission be imperceptible, or will it destroy the equili- 
brium of the whole system of Knowledge ? This is the 
inquiry to which I proceed. 


Now what is Theology ? First, I will tell you what it 
IS not. And here, in the first place (though of course I 
speak on the subject as a Catholic), observe that, strictly 
speaking, I am not assuming that Catholicism is true, 
while I make myself the champion of Theology. 
Catholicism has not formally entered into my argument 
hitherto, nor shall I just now assume any principle 
peculiar to it, for reasons which will appear in the sequel, 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 6 1 

though of course I shall use Catholic language. Neither, 
secondly, will I fall into the fashion of the day, of identi- 
fying Natural Theology with Physical Theology ; which 
said Physical Theology is a most jejune study, considered 
as a science, and really is no science at all, for it is 
ordinarily nothing more than aseries of pious or polemical 
remarks upon the physical world viewed religiously, 
whereas the word " Natural " properly comprehends man 
and society, and all that is involved therein, as the great 
Protestant writer, Dr. Butler, shows us. Nor, in the third 
place, do I mean by Theology polemics of any kind ; for 
instance, what are called " the Evidences of Religion," 
or "the Christian Evidences;" for, though these constitute 
a science supplemental to Theology and are necessary 
in their place, they are not Theology itself, unless an 
army is synonymous with the body politic. Nor, fourthly, 
do I mean by Theology that vague thing called " Chris- 
tianity," or " our common Christianity," or " Christianity 
the law of the land," if there is any man alive who can 
tell what it is. I discard it, for the very reason that it 
cannot throw itself into a proposition. Lastly, I do not 
understand by Theology, acquaintance with the Scrip- 
tures ; for, though no person of religious feelings can 
read Scripture but he will find those feelings roused, 
and gain much knowledge of history into the bargain, 
yet historical reading and religious feeling are not science. 
I mean none of these things by Theology, I simply 
mean the Science of God, or the truths we know about 
God put into system ; just as we have a science of the 
stars, and call it astronomy, or of the crust of the earth, 
and call it geology. 

For instance, I mean, for this is the main point, that, 
as in the human frame there is a living principle, acting 
upon it and through it by means of volition, so, behind 

62 Discourse III. 

the veil of the visible universe, there is an invisible, 
intelligent Being, acting on and through it, as and when 
He will. Further, I mean that this invisible Agent is in 
no sense a soul of the world, after the analogy of human 
nature, but, on the contrary, is absolutely distinct from 
the world, as being its Creator, Upholder, Governor, and 
Sovereign Lord. Here we are at once brought into the 
circle of doctrines which the idea of God embodies. I 
mean then by the Supreme Being, one who is simply 
self-dependent, and the only Being who is such ; moreover, 
that He is without beginning or Eternal, and the only 
Eternal ; that in consequence He has lived a whole 
eternity by Himself; and hence that He is all-sufficient, 
sufficient for His own blessedness, and all-blessed, and 
ever-blessed. Further, I mean a Being, who, having 
these prerogatives, has the Supreme Good, or rather is 
the Supreme Good, or has all the attributes of Good in 
infinite intenseness ; all wisdom, all truth, all justice, all 
love, all holiness, all beautifulness ; who is omnipotent, 
omniscient, omnipresent; ineffably one, absolutely perfect; 
and such, that what we do not know and cannot even 
imagine of Him, is far more wonderful than what we do 
and can. I mean One who is sovereign over His own will 
and actions, though always according to the eternal Rule 
of right and wrong, which is Himself I mean, moreover, 
that He created all things out of nothing, and preserves 
them every moment, and could destroy them as easily as 
He made them; and that, in consequence. He is separated 
from them by an abyss, and is incommunicable in all 
His attributes. And further. He has stamped upon all 
things, in the hour of their creation, their respective 
natures, and has given them their work and mission and 
their length of days, greater or less, in their appointed 
place. I mean, too, that He is ever present with His 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 63 

works, one by one, and confronts every thing He has 
made by His particular and most loving Providence, and 
manifests Himself to each according to its needs ; and 
has on rational beings imprinted the moral law, and 
given them power to obey it, imposing on them the duty 
of worship and service, searching and scanning them 
through and through with His omniscient eye, and 
putting before them a present trial and a judgment to 

Such is what Theology teaches about God, a doctrine, 
as the very idea of its subject-matter presupposes, so 
mysterious as in its fulness to lie beyond any system, 
and in particular aspects to be simply external to nature, 
and to seem in parts even to be irreconcileable with 
itself, the imagination being unable to embrace what the 
reason determines. It teaches of a Being infinite, yet 
personal ; all-blessed, yet ever operative ; absolutely 
separate from the creature, yet in every part of the 
creation at every moment ; above all things, yet under 
every thing. It teaches of a Being who, though the 
highest, yet in the work of creation, conservation, 
government, retribution, makes Himself, as it were, the 
minister and servant of all ; who, though inhabiting 
eternity, allows Himself to take an interest, and to have 
a sympathy, in the matters of space and time. His are 
all beings, visible and invisible, the noblest and the vilest 
of them. His are the substance, and the operation, and 
the results of that system of physical nature into which 
we are born. His too are the powers and achievements 
of the intellectual essences, on which He has bestowed 
an independent action and the gift of origination. The 
laws of the universe, the principles of truth, the relation 
of one thing to another, their qualities and virtues, the 
order and harmony of the whole, all that exists, is. from 

64 Discourse III. 

Him ; and, if evil is not from Him, as assuredly it is not, 
tnis is because evil has no substance of its own, but is 
only the defect, excess, perversion, or corruption of that 
which has substance. All we, see, hear, and touch, the re- 
mote sidereal firmament, as well as our own sea and land, 
and the elements which compose them, and the ordinances 
they obey, are His. The primary atoms of matter, their 
properties, their mutual action, their disposition and 
collocation, electricity, magnetism, gravitation, light, and 
whatever other subtle principles or operations the wit of 
man is detecting or sha.l detect, are the work of His 
hands. From Him has been every movement which 
has convulsed and re-fashioned the surface of the earth. 
The most insignificant or unsightly insect is from Him, 
and good in its kind ; the ever-teeming, inexhaustible 
swarms of animalculge, the myriads of living motes in- 
visible to the naked eye, the restless ever-spreading 
vegetation which creeps like a garment over the whole 
earth, the lofty cedar, the umbrageous banana, are His. 
His are the tribes and families of birds and beasts, their 
graceful forms, their wild gestures, and their passionate 

And so in the intellectual, moral, social, and political 
world. Man, with his motives and works, his languages, 
his propagation, his diffusion, is from Him. Agriculture, 
medicine, and the arts of life, are His gifts. Society, 
laws, government. He is their sanction. The pageant of 
earthly royalty has the semblance and the benediction 
of the Eternal King. Peace and civilization, commerce 
and adventure, wars when just, conquest when humane 
and necessary, have His co-operation, and His blessing 
upon them. The course of events, the revolution of 
empires, the rise and fall of states, the periods and eras, 
the progresses and the retrogressions of the world's 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 65 

history, not indeed the incidental sin, over-abundant as 
it is, but the great outlines and the results of human 
affairs, are from His disposition. The elements and 
types and seminal principles and constructive powers of 
the moral world, in ruins though it be, are to be referred 
to Him. He " enlightencth every man that conieth into 
this world." His are the dictates of the moral sense, and 
the retributive reproaches of conscience. To Him must 
be ascribed the rich endowments of the intellect, the 
irradiation of genius, the imagination of the poet, the 
sagacity of the politician, the wisdom (as Scripture calls 
it), which now rears and decorates the Temple, now 
manifests itself in proverb or in parable. The old saws 
of nations, the majestic precepts of philosophy, the 
luminous maxims of law, the oracles of individual wis- 
dom, the traditionary rules of truth, justice, and religion, 
even though imbedded in the corruption, or alloyed with 
the pride, of the world, betoken His original agency, and 
His long-suffering presence. Even where there is habi- 
tual rebellion against Him, or profound far-spreading 
social depravity, still the undercurrent, or the heroic out- 
burst, of natural virtue, as well as the yearnings of the 
heart after what it has not, and its presentiment of its 
true remedies, are to be ascribed to the Author of all 
good. Anticipations or reminiscences of His glory haunt 
the mind of the self-sufficient sage, and of the pagan 
devotee ; His writing is upon the wall, whether of the 
Indian fane, or of the porticoes of Greece. He introduces 
Himself, He all but concurs, according to His good plea- 
sure, and in His selected season, in the issues of unbelief, 
superstition, and false worship, and He changes the cha- 
racter of acts by His overruling operation. He conde- 
scends, though He gives no sanction, to the altars and 
shrines of imposture, and He makes His own fiat the 
7* 5 

66 Discourse III. 

substitute for its sorceries. He speaks amid the incan- 
tations of Balaam, raises Samuel's spirit in the witch's 
cavern, prophesies of the Messias by tlie tongue of the 
Sibyl, forces Python to recognize His ministers, and 
baptizes by the hand of the misbeliever. He is with the 
heathen dramatist in his denunciations of injustice and 
tyranny, and his auguries of divine vengeance upon 
crime. Even on the unseemly legends of a popular 
mythology He casts His shadow, and is dimly discerned 
in the ode or the epic, as in troubled water or in fan- 
tastic dreams. All that is good, all that is true, all that 
is beautiful, all that is beneficent, be it great or small, be it 
perfect or fragmentary, natural as well as supernatural, 
moral as well as material, comes from Him. 


If this be a sketch, accurate in substance and as far as 
it goes, of the doctrines proper to Theology, and espe- 
cially of the doctrine of a particular Providence, which is 
the portion of it most on a level with human sciences, I 
cannot understand at all how, supposing it to be true, it 
can fail, considered as knowledge, to exert a powerful 
influence on philosophy, literature, and every intellectual 
creation or discovery whatever. I cannot understand 
how it is possible, as the phrase goes, to blink the ques- 
tion of its truth or falsehood. It meets us with a pro- 
fession and a proffer of the highest truths of which the 
human mind is capable ; it embraces a range of subjects 
the most diversified and distant from each other. What 
science will not find one part or other of its province 
traversed by its path .-' What results of philosophic 
speculation are unquestionable, if they have been gained 
without inquiry as to what Theology had to say to them ? 
Does it cast no light upon history .■' has it no influence 

Bearing of Theology on Other Knowledge. 67 

upon the principles of ethics ? is it without any sort of 
bearing on physics, metaphysics, and political science ? 
Can we drop it out of the circle of knowledge, without 
allowing, either that that circle is thereby mutilated, or on 
the other hand, that Theology is really no science ? 

And this dilemma is the more inevitable, because 
Theology is so precise and consistent in its intellectual 
structure. When I speak of Theism or Monotheism, I 
am not throwing together discordant doctrines ; I am 
not merging belief, opinion, persuasion, of whatever kind, 
into a shapeless aggregate, by the help of ambiguous 
words, and dignifying this medley by the name of 
Theology. 1 speak of one idea unfolded in its just pro- 
portions, carried out upon an intelligible method, and 
issuing in necessary and immutable results ; understood 
indeed at one time and place better than at another, 
held here and there with more or less of inconsistency, 
but still, after all, in all times and places, where it is found, 
the evolution, not of half-a-dozen ideas, but of one. 


And here I am led to another and most important 
point in the argument in its behalf, — I mean its wide re- 
ception. Theology, as I have described it, is no accident 
of particular minds, as are certain systems, for instance, 
of prophetical interpretation. It is not the sudden birth of 
a crisis, as the Lutheran or Wesleyan doctrine. It is not 
the splendid development of some uprising philosophy, 
as the Cartesian or Platonic. It is not the fashion of a 
season, as certain medical treatments may be considered. 
It has had a place, if not possession, in the intellectual 
world from time immemorial ; it has been received by 
minds the most various, and in systems of religion the 
niost hostile to each other. It has prima facie claims 

68 Discourse III. 

upon us, so imposing, that it can only be rejected on the 
ground of those claims being nothing more than impos- 
ing, that is, being false. As to our own countries, it 
occupies our language, it meets us at every turn in our 
literature, it is the secret assumption, too axiomatic to be 
distinctly professed, of all our writers ; nor can we help 
assuming it ourselves, except by the most unnatural 
vigilance. Whoever philosophizes, starts with it, and 
ip.troduces it, when he will, without any apology. Bacon, 
Hooker, Taylor, Cudworth, Locke, Newton, Clarke, 
]>erkeley, and Butler, and it would be as easy to find 
more, as difficult to find greater names among English 
authors, inculcate or comment upon it. Men the most 
opposed, in creed or cast of mind, Addison and Johnson, 
Shakespeare and Milton, Lord Herbert and Baxter, 
herald it forth. Nor is it an English or a Protestant 
notion only ; you track it across the Continent, you 
pursue it into former ages. When was the world with- 
out it ? Have the systems of Atheism or Pantheism, as 
sciences, prevailed in the literature of nations, or received 
a formation or attained a completeness such as Mono- 
theism .' We find it in old Greece, and even in Rome, 
as well as in Judea and the East. We find it in 
popular literature, in philosophy, in poetry, as a positive 
and settled teaching, differing not at all in the appear- 
ance it presents, whether in Protestant England, or in 
schismatical Russia, or in the Mahometan populations, 
or in the Catholic Church. If ever there was a subject 
of thought, which had earned by prescription to be 
received among the studies of a University, and which 
could not be rejected except on the score of convicted 
imposture, as astrology or alchemy ; if there be a science 
anywhere, which at least could claim not to be ignored, 
but to be entertained, and either distinctly accepted or 

Bearing of Theology on Olher Knowledge. 69 

distinctly reprobated, or rather, which cannot be passed 
over in a scheme of universal instruction, without involv- 
ing a positive denial of its truth, it is this ancient, this 
far-spreading philosophy. 


And now, Gentlemen, I may bring a somewhat tedious 
discussion to a close. It will not take many words to 
sum up what I have been urging. I say then, if the 
various branches of knowledge, which are the matter of 
teaching in a University, so hang together, that none 
can be neglected without prejudice to the perfection of 
the rest, and if Theology be a branch of knowledge, of 
wide reception, of philosophical structure, of unutterable 
importance, and of supreme influence, to what con- 
clusion are we brought from these two premisses but 
this .^ that to withdraw Theology from the public 
schools is to impair the completeness and to invalidate 
the trustworthiness of all that is actually taught in them. 

But I have been insisting simply on Natural Theology, 
and that, because I wished to carry along with me those 
who were not Catholics, and, again, as being confident, 
that no one can really set himself to master and to 
teach the doctrine of an intelligent Creator in its fulness, 
without going on a great deal farther than he at present 
dreams. I say, then, secondly : — if this Science, even 
a: human reason may attain to it, has such claims on 
the regard, and enters so variously into the objects, of 
Uie Proiessor of Universal Knowledge, how can any 
Catholic imagine that it is possible for him to cultivate 
Philosophy and Science with due attention to their 
ultimate end, which is Truth, supposing that system of 
revealed facts and principles, which constitutes the 
Catholic Faith, which goes so far beyond nature, and 

70 Discourse III. 

which he knows to be most true, be omitted from among 
the subjects of his teaching ? 

In a word, Rehgious Truth is not only a portion, but 
a condition of general knowledge. To blot it out is 
nothing short, if I may so speak, of unravelling the web 
of University Teaching. It is, according to the Greek 
proverb, to take the Spring from out of the year ; it is 
to imitate the preposterous proceeding of those trage- 
dians who represented a drama with the omission of its 
principal part. 




N'OTHING is more common in the world at large 
than to consider the resistance, made on the part 
of religious men, especially Catholics, to the separation 
of Secular Education from Religion, as a plain token 
that there is some real contrariety between human science 
and Revelation. To the multitude who draw this infer- 
ence, it matters not whether the protesting parties avow 
their belief in this contrariety or not ; it is borne in upon 
the many, as if it were self-evident, that religious men 
would not thus be jealous and alarmed about Science, 
did they not feel instinctively, though they may not 
recognize it, that knowledge is their born enemy, and 
that its progress, if it is not arrested, will be certain to 
destroy all that they hold venerable and dear. It looks 
to the world like a misgiving on our part similar to that 
which is imputed to our refusal to educate by means of 
the Bible only; why should you dread the sacred text, 
men say, if it be not against you .-' And in like man- 
ner, why should you dread secular education, except 
that it is against you .'' Why impede the circulation 
of books which take religious views opposite to your 
own .'' Why forbid your children and scholars the free 

72 Discourse IV. 

perusal of poems or tales or essays or other light 
literature which you fear would unsettle their minds? 
Why oblige them to know these persons and to shun 
those, if you think that your friends have reason on their 
side as fully as your opponents ? Truth is bold and un- 
suspicious ; want of self-reliance is the mark of false- 

Now. as far as this objection relates to any supposed 
opposition between secular science and divine, which is 
the subject on which I am at present engaged, I made a 
sufficient answer to it in my foregoing Discourse. In it 
I said, that, in order to have possession of truth at all, 
we must have the whole truth ; and no one science, no 
two sciences, no one family of sciences, nay, not even all 
secular science, is the whole truth ; that revealed truth 
enters to a very great extent into the province of 
science, philosophy, and literature, and that to put it on 
one side, in compliment to secular science, is simply, 
under colour of a compliment, to do science a great 
damage. I do not say that every science will be equally 
affected by the omission ; pure mathetnatics v ill not 
suffer at all ; chemistry will suffer less than politics, 
politics than history, ethics, or metaphysics ; still, that 
the various branches of science are intimately connected 
with each other, and form one whole, which whole is im- 
paired, and to an extent which it is difficult to limit, by 
any considerable omission of knowledge, of whatever 
kind, and that revealed knowledge is very far indeed 
from an inconsiderable department of knowledge, this I 
consider undeniable. As the written and unwritten word 
of God make up Revelation as a whole, and the written, 
taken by itself, is but a part of that whole, so in turn 
Revelation itself may be viewed as one of the constituent 
parts of human knowledge, considered as a whole, and 

Bearing of Oth-r Knowledge on Theology. 73 

its omission is the omission of one of those constituent 
parts. Revealed Religion furnishes facts to the other 
sciences, which those sciences, left to themselves, would 
never reach ; and it invalidates apparent facts, which, 
left to themselves, they would imagine. Thus, in the 
science of history, the preservation of our race in Noah's 
ark is an historical fact, which history never would 
arrive at without Revelation ; and, in the province of 
physiology and moral philosophy, our race's progress 
and perfectibility is a dream, because Revelation con- 
tradicts it, whatever may be plausibly argued in its be- 
half by scientific inquirers. It is not then that Catho- 
lics are afraid of human knowledge, but that they are 
proud of divine knowledge, and that they think the 
omission of any kind of knowledge whatever, human or 
divine, to be, as far as it goes, not knowledge, but 


Thus I anticipated the objection in question last week: 
now I am going to make it the introduction to a further 
view of the relation of secular knowledge to divine. I 
observe, then, that, if you drop any science out of the 
circle of knowledge, you cannot keep its place vacant for 
it ; that science is forgotten ; the other sciences close 
up, or, in other word-;, they exceed their proper bounds, 
and intrude where they have no right. For instance, I 
suppose, if ethics were sent into banishment, its territory 
would soon disappear, under a treaty of partition, as it 
may be called, between law, political economy, and 
physiology ; what, again, would become of the pro- 
vince of experimental science, if made over to the Anti- 
quarian Society ; or of history, if surrendered out and 
out to Metaphysicians } The case is the same with the 

74 Discourse IV. 

subject-matter of Theology ; it would be the prey of a 
dozen various sciences, if Theology were put out of 
possession ; and not only so, but those sciences would 
be plainly exceeding their rights and their capacities in 
seizing upon it. They would be sure to teach wrongly, 
where they had no mission to teach at all. The enemies 
of Catholicism ought to be the last to deny this : — for they 
have never been blind to a like usurpation, as they have 
called it, on the part of theologians ; those who accuse 
us of wishing, in accordance with Scripture language, to 
make the sun go round the earth, are not the men to 
deny that a science which exceeds its limits falls into 

I neither then am able nor care to deny, rather I 
assert the fact, and to-day I am going on to account for 
it, that any secular science, cultivated exclusively, may 
become dangerous to Religion ; and I account for it on 
this broad principle, that no science whatever, however 
comprehensive it may be, but will fall largely into error, 
if it be constituted the sole exponent of all things in 
heaven and earth, and that, for the simple reason that it 
is encroaching on territory not its own, and undertaking 
problems which it has no instruments to solve. And I 
set off thus : 


One of the first acts of the human mind is to take 
hold of and appropriate what meets the senses, and here- 
in lies a chief distinction between man's and a brute's use 
of them. Brutes gaze on sights, they are arrested by 
sounds ; and what they see and what they hear are 
mainly sights and sounds only. The intellect of man, 
on the contrary, energizes as well as his eye or ear, and 
perceives in sights and sounds something beyond them. 

Bearmg of Other Kiiowledge on Theology. 75 

It seizes and unites what the senses present to it ; it 
grasps and forms what need not have been seen or 
heard except in its constituent parts. It discerns in Hues 
and colours, or in tones, what is beautiful and what is 
not. It gives them a meaning, and invests them with 
an idea. It gathers up a succession of notes into the 
expression of a whole, and calls it a melody ; it has a 
keen sensibility towards angles and curves, lights and 
shadows, tints and contours. It distinguishes between 
rule and exception, between accident and design. It 
assigns phenomena to a general law, qualities to a subject, 
acts to a principle, and effects to a cause. In a word, 
it philosophizes ; for I suppose Science and Philosophy, 
in their elementary idea, are nothing else but this habit 
of vieiviug, as it may be called, the objects which sense 
conveys to the mind, of throwing them into system, and 
uniting and stamping them with one form. 

This method is so natural to us, as I have said, as to be 
almost spontaneous ; and we are impatient when we can- 
not exercise it, and in consequence we do not always 
wait to have the means of exercising it aright, but we 
often put up with insufficient or absurd views or inter- 
pretations of what we meet with, rather than have none 
at all. We refer the various matters which are brought 
home to us, material or moral, to causes which we happen 
to know of, or to such as are simply imaginary, sooner 
than refer them to nothing; and according to the activity 
of our intellect do we feel a pain and begin to fret, if we 
are not able to do so. Here we have an explanation of 
the multitude of off hand sayings, flippant judgments, 
and shallow generalizations, with which the world 
abounds. Not from self-will only, nor from malevolence, 
but from the irritation which suspense occasions, is the 
mind forced on to pronounce, without sufficient data for 

76 DLcourse IV, 

pronouncing. Who does not form some view or other, 
for instance, of any public man, or any pubhc event, nay, 
even so far in some cases as to reach the mental delinea- 
tion of his appearance or of its scene ? yet how few have 
a right to form any view. Hence the misconceptions of 
character, hence the false impressions and reports of words 
or deeds, which are the rule, rather than the exception, 
in the world at large ; hence the extravagances of un- 
disciplined talent, and the narrowness of conceited igno- 
rance; because, though it is no easy matter to view things 
correctly, nevertheless the busy mind will ever be viewing. 
We cannot do without a view, and we put up with an 
illusion, when we cannot get a truth. 


Now, observe how this impatience acts in matters of 
research and speculation. What happens to the ignorant 
and hotheaded, will take place in the case of every person 
whose education or pursuits are contracted, whether they 
be merely professional, merely scientific, or of whatever 
other peculiar complexion. Men, whose life lies in the 
cultivation of one science, or the exercise of one method 
of thought, have no more right, though they have often 
more ambition, to generalize upon the basis of their own 
pursuit but beyond its range, than the schoolboy or the 
ploughman to judge of a Prime Minister. But they must 
have something to say on every subject ; habit, fashion, 
the public require it of them : and, if so, they can only 
give sentence according to their knowledge. You might 
think this ought to make such a person modest in his enun- 
ciations; not so: too often it happens that, in proportion 
to the narrowness of his knowledge, is, not his distrust 
of it, but the deep hold it has upon him, his absolute 
conviction of his own conclusions, and his positiveness in 

Bearing of Oilier Knowiedge on Theoiogy. 77 

maintaining them. He has the obstinacy of the bigot, 
whom he scorns, without the bigot's apology, that he has 
been taught, as he thinks, his doctrine from heaven. 
Thus he becomes, what is commonly called, a man of one 
idea ; which properly means a man of one science, and 
of the view, partly true, but subordinate, partly false, 
which is all that can proceed out of any thing so partial. 
Hence it is that we have the principles of utility, of 
combination, of progress, of philanthropy, or, in material 
sciences, comparative anatomy, phrenology, electricity, 
exalted into leading ideas, and keys, if not of all know- 
ledge, at least of many things more than belong to them, — 
principles, all of them true to a certain point, yet all 
degenerating into error and quackery, because they are 
carried to excess, viz. at the point where they require 
interpretation and restraint from other quarters, and 
because they are employed to do what is simply too 
much for them, inasmuch as a little science is not deep 

Lord Bacon has set down the abuse, of which I am 
speaking, among the impediments to the Advancement 
of the Sciences, when he observes that " men have used 
to infect their meditations, opinions, and doctrines, with 
some conceits which they have most admired, or some 
Sciences xuhicJi tJiey have most applied ; and give all things 
else a tincture according to them utterly untrue and im- 
proper. ... So have the alchemists made a philo- 
sophy out of a few experiments of the furnace ; and 
Gilbertus, our countryman, hath made a philosophy out 
of the observations of a lodestone. So Cicero, when, 
reciting the several opinions of the nature of the soul, he 
found a musician that held the soul was but a harmony, 
saith pleasantly, ' hie ab arte sua non recessit,' ' he was 
true to his art' But of these conceits Aristotle speaketh 

78 Discourse IV. 

seriously and wisely when he saith, ' Qui respiciunt 
ad pauca, de facili pronunciant,' ' they who contemplate 
a few things have no difficulty in deciding.' " 


And now I have said enough to explain the incon- 
venience which 1 conceive necessarily to result from a 
refusal to recognize theological truth in a course of 
Universal Knowledge ; — it is not only the loss of Theo- 
logy, it is the perversion of other sciences. What it 
unjustly forfeits, others unjustly seize. They have their 
own department, and, in going out of it, attempt to do 
what they really cannot do ; and that the more mis- 
chievously, because they do teach what in its place is 
true, though when out of its place, perverted or carried to 
excess, it is not true. And, as every man has not the 
capacity of separating truth from falsehood, they per- 
suade the world of what is false by urging upon it what 
is true. Nor is it open enemies alone who encounter us 
here, sometimes it is friends, sometimes persons who, if 
not friends, at least have no wish to oppose Religion, and 
are not conscious they are doing so ; and it will carry 
out my meaning more fully if I give some illustrations 
of it. 

As to friends, 1 may take as an instance the cultivation 
of the Fine Arts, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, to 
which 1 may add Music. These high ministers of the 
Beautiful and the Noble are, it is plain, special attendants 
and handmaids of Religion ; but it is equally plain that 
they are apt to forget their place, and, unless restrained 
with a firm hand, instead of being servants, will aim at 
becoming principals. Here lies the advantage, in an 
ecclesiastical point of view, of their more rudimental 
state, I mean of the ancient style of architecture, of Gothic 

B taring of Other Knowledge on Tneology. 79 

sculpture and painting, and of what is called Gregorian 
music, that these inchoate sciences have so Httle innate 
vigour and hfe in them, that they are in no danger of 
going out of their place, and giving the law to Religion. 
But the case is very different when genius has breathed 
upon their natural elements, and has developed them 
into what I may call intellectual powers. When Paint- 
ing, for example, grows into the fulness of its function as 
a simply imitative art, it at once ceases to be a dependant 
on the Church. It has an end of its own, and that of 
earth : Nature is its pattern, and the object it pursues is 
the beauty of Nature, even till it becomes an ideal beauty, 
but a natural beauty still. It cannot imitate that beauty 
of Angels and Saints which it has never seen. At first, 
indeed, by outlines and emblems it shadowed out the 
Invisible, and its want of skill became the instrument of 
reverence and modesty ; but as time went on and it at- 
tained its full dimensions as an art, it rather subjected 
Religion to its own ends than ministered to the ends of 
Religion, and in its long galleries and stately chambers, 
did but mingle adorable figures and sacred histories with 
a multitude of earthly, not to say unseemly forms, which 
the Art had created, borrowing withal a colouring and a 
character from that bad company. Not content with 
neutral ground for its development, it was attracted by 
the sublimity of divine subjects to ambitious and hazar- 
dous essays. Without my saying a word more, you will 
clearly understand. Gentlemen, that under these circum- 
stances Religion was bound to exert itself, that the world 
might not gain an advantage over it. Put out of sight 
the severe teaching of Catholicism in the schools of Paint- 
ing, as men now would put it aside in their philosophical 
studies, and in no long time you would have the hierarchy 
of the Church, the Anchorite and Virgin-martyr, the 

8o Discourse IV. 

Confessor and the Doctor, the Anjelic Hosts, the 
Mother of God, the Crucifix, the Eternal Truiity, sup- 
planted by a sort of pagan mythology in the guise of 
sacred names, by a creation indeed of high genius, of 
intense, and dazzling, and soul-absorbing beauty, in 
which, however, there was nothing which subserved the 
cause of Religion, nothing on the other hand which did 
not directly or indirectly minister to corrupt nature and 
the powers of darkness. 


The art of Painting, however, is peculiar : Music and 
Architecture are more ideal, and their respective arche- 
types, even if not supernatural, at least are abstract and 
unearthly ; and yet what I have been observing about 
Painting, holds, I think, analogously, in the marvellous 
development which Musical Science has undergone in 
the last century. Doubtless here too the highest genius 
may be made subservient to Religion ; here too, still 
more simply than in the case of Painting, the Science 
has a field of its own, perfectly innocent, into which 
Religion does not and need not enter ; on the other 
hand here also, in the case of Music as of Painting, it is 
certain that Religion must be alive and on the defensive, 
for, if its servants sleep, a potent enchantment will steal 
over it. Music, I suppose, though this is not the place 
to enlarge upon it, has an object of its own ; as mathe- 
matical science also, it is the expression of ideas greater 
and more profound than any in the visible world, ideas, 
which centre indeed in Him whom Catholicism mani- 
fests, who is the seat of all beauty, order, and perfection 
whatever, still ideas after all which are not those on 
which Revelation directly and principally fixes our gaze. 
If then a great master in this mysterious science (if I 

Bearing of Other Knowledge on Theology. 8 1 

may speak of matters which seem to lie out of my own 
province) throws himself on his own gift, trusts its in- 
spirations, and absorbs himself in those thoughts which, 
though they come to him in the way of nature, belong 
to things above nature, it is obvious he will neglect 
everything else. Rising in his strength, he will break 
through the trammels of words, he will scatter human 
voices, even the sweetest, to the winds ; he will be borne 
upon nothing less than the fullest flood of sounds which 
art has enabled him to draw from mechanical contri- 
vances ; he will go forth as a giant, as far as ever his in- 
struments can reach, starting from their secret depths 
fresh and fresh elements of beauty and grandeur as he 
goes, and pouring them together into still more marvel- 
lous and rapturous combinations ; — and well indeed and 
lawfully, while he keeps to that line which is his own ; 
but, should he happen to be attracted, as he well may, 
by the sublimity, so congenial to him, of the Catholic 
doctrine and ritual, should he engage in sacred themes, 
should he resolve by means of his art to do honour to 
the Mass, or the Divine Office, — (he cannot have a more 
pious, a better purpose, and Religion will gracefully 
accept what he gracefully offers ; but) — is it not certain, 
from the circumstances of the case, that he will be 
carried on rather to use Religion than to minister to it, 
unless Religion is strong on its own ground, and reminds 
him that, if he would do honour to the highest of 
subjects, he must make himself its scholar, must humbly 
follow the thoughts given him, and must aim at the 
glory, not of his own gift, but of the Great Giver ? 

As to Architecture, it is a remark, if I recollect aright, 
both of Fenelon and Berkeley, men so different, that it 
7 • 6 

82 Discourse IV. 

carries more with it even than the names of those cele- 
brated men, that the Gothic style is not as simple as 
befits ecclesiastical structures. I understand this to be 
a similar judgment to that which I have been passing 
on the cultivation of Painting and Music. For myself, 
certainly I think that that style which, whatever be its 
origin, is called Gothic, is endowed with a profound and 
a commanding beauty, such as no other style possesses 
with which we are acquainted, and which probably the 
Church will not see surpassed till it attain to the Celestial 
City. No other architecture, now used for sacred pur- 
poses, seems to be the growth of an idea, whereas the 
Gothic style is as harmonious and as intellectual as it is 
graceful. But this feeUng should not blind us, rather it 
should awaken us, to the danger lest what is really a 
divine gift be incautiously used as an end rather than as 
a means. It is surely quite within the bounds of pos- 
sibility, that, as the renaissance three centuries ago 
carried away its own day, in spite of the Church, into 
excesses in literature and art, so that revival of an almost 
forgotten architecture, which is at present taking place 
in our own countries, in France, and in Germany, may 
in some way or other run away with us into this or that 
error, unless we keep a watch over its course. I am not 
speaking of Ireland ; but to English Catholics at least it 
would be a serious evil, if it came as the emblem and 
advocate of a past ceremonial or an extinct nationalism. 
We are not living in an age of wealth and loyalty, of 
pomp and stateliness, of time-honoured establishments, 
of pilgrimage and penance, of hermitages and convents 
in the wild, and of fervent populations supplying the 
want of education by love, and apprehending in form 
and symbol what they cannot read in books. Our rules 
and our rubrics have been altered now to meet the 

Bearing of Other Knowledge on Theology. 83 

times, and hence an obsolete discipline may be a 
present heresy. 


I have been pointing out how the Fine Arts may pre- 
judice Religion, by laying down the law in cases where 
they should be subservient. The illustration is analo- 
gous rather than strictly proper to my subject, yet I 
think it is to the point. If then the most loyal and 
dutiful children of the Church must deny themselves, 
and do deny themselves, when they would sanctify to a 
heavenly purpose sciences as sublime and as divine as 
any which are cultivated by fallen man, it is not wonder- 
ful, when we turn to sciences of a different character, of 
which the object is tangible and material, and the 
principles belong to the Reason, not to the Imagination, 
that we should find their disciples, if disinclined to the 
Catholic Faith, actin_^ the part of opponents to it, and 
that, as may often happen, even against their will and 
intention. Many men there are, who, devoted to one 
particular subject of thought, and making its principles 
the measure of all things, become enemies to Revealed 
Religion before they know it, and, only as time proceeds, 
are aware of their own state of mind. These, if they 
are writers or lecturers, while in this state of unconscious 
or semi-conscious unbelief, scatter infidel principles under 
the garb and colour of Christianity ; and this, simply 
because they have made their own science, whatever it 
is. Political Economy, or Geology, or Astronomy, to the 
neglect of Theology, the centre of all truth, and view 
every part or the chief parts of knowledge as if de- 
veloped from it, and to be tested and determined by its 
principles. Others, though conscious to themselves of 
their anti-christian opinions, have too much good feeling 

84 Discotirse IV. 

and good taste to obtrude them upon the world. They 
neither wish to shock people, nor to earn for themselves 
a confessorship which brings with it no gain. They 
know the strength of prejudice, and the penalty of in- 
novation ; they wish to go through life quietly ; they 
scorn polemics ; they shrink, as from a real humiliation, 
from being mixed up in religious controversy ; they are 
ashamed of the very nam.e. However, they have had 
occasion at some time to publish on some literary or 
scientific subject ; they have wished to give no offence ; 
but after all, to their great annoyance, they find when 
they least expect it, or when they have taken consider- 
able pains to avoid it, that they have roused by their 
publication what they would style the bigoted and 
bitter hostility of a party. This misfortune is easily 
conceivable, and has befallen many a man. Before he 
knows where he is, a cry is raised on all sides of him ; 
and so little does he know what we may call the lie of 
the land, that his attempts at apology perhaps only 
make matters worse. In other words, an exclusive line 
of study has led him, whether he will or no, to run 
counter to the principles of Religion ; which principles 
he has never made his landmarks, and which, whatever 
might be their efiect upon himself, at least would have 
warned him against practising upon the faith of others, 
had tliey been authoritatively held up before him, 

Instances of this kind are far from uncommon. Men 
who are old enough, will remember the trouble which 
came upon a person, eminent as a professional man in 
London even at that distant day, and still more eminent 
since, in consequence of his publishing a book in which 
be so treated the subject of Comparative Anatomy as 

Bearing of OtJier Knowledge on Theology. 85 

to seem to deny the immateriality of the soul. I speak 
here neither as excusing nor reprobating sentiments 
about which I have not the means of forming a judg- 
ment ; all indeed I have heard of him makes me men- 
tion him with interest and respect ; anyhow of this I 
am sure, that if there be a calling which feels its position 
and its dignity to lie in abstaining from controversy and 
in cultivating kindly feelings with men of all opinions, 
it is the medical profession, and I cannot believe that 
the person in question would purposely have raised the 
indignation and incurred the censure of the religious 
public. What then must have been his fault or mistake, 
but that he unsuspiciously threw himse'f upon his own 
particular science, which is of a material character, and 
allowed it to carry him forward into a subject-matter, 
where it had no right to give the law, viz., that of spiri- 
tual beings,_ which directly belongs to the science of 
Theology ? 

Another instance occurred at a later date. A living 
dignitary of the Established Church wrote a History of 
the Jews ; in which, with what I consider at least bad 
judgment, he took an external view of it, and hence was 
led to assimilate it as nearly as possible to secular his- 
tory. A great sensation was the consequence among 
the members of his own communion, from which he still 
suffers. Arguing from the dislike and contempt of pole- 
mical demonstrations which that accomplished writer has 
ever shown, I must conclude that he was simply betrayed 
into a false step by the treacherous fascination of what 
is called the Philosophy of History, which is good in its 
place, but can scarcely be applied in cases where the 
Almighty has superseded the natural laws of society and 
history. From this he would have been saved, had he 
been a Catholic ; but in the Establishment he knew of 

86 Discou7'sc IV. 

no teaching, to which he was bound to defer, which 
might rule that to be false which attracted him by its 

I will now take an instance from another science, and 
will use more words about it. Political Economy is the 
science, I suppose, of wealth, — a science simply lawful 
and useful, for it is no sin to make money, any more 
than it is a sin to seek honour ; a science at the same 
time dangerous and leading to occasions of sin, as is the 
pursuit of honour too ; and in consequence, if studied by 
itself, and apart from the control of Revealed Truth, 
sure to conduct a speculator to unchristian conclusions. 
Holy Scripture tells us distinctly, that " covetousness," 
or more literally the love of money, " is the root of all 
evils ; " and that " they that would become rich fall into 
temptation;" and that "hardly shall they that have 
riches enter into the kingdom of God ;" and after draw- 
ing the picture of a wealthy and flourishing people, it 
adds, "They have called the people happy that hath 
these things ; but happy is that people whose God is the 
Lord : " — while on the other hand it says with equal 
distinctness, " If any will not work, neither let him eat:" 
and, " If any man have not care of his own, and espe- 
cially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, 
and is worse than an infidel." These opposite injunc- 
tions are summed up in the wise man's prayer, who says, 
" Give me neither beggary nor riches, give me only the 
necessaries of life." With this most precise view of a 
Christian's duty, viz., to labour indeed, but to labour for 
a competency for himself and his, and to be jealous of 
wealth, whether personal or national, the holy Fathers 
are, as might be expected, in simple accordance. 
"Judas," says St. Chrysostom, "was with Him who 

Bearing of titer Knowledge on Theology. 87 

knew not where to lay His head, yet could not restrain 
himself; and how canst thou hope to escape the con- 
tagion without anxious effort ? " "It is ridiculous," says 
St. Jerome, " to call it idolatry to offer to the creature 
the grains of incense that are due to God, and not to 
call it so, to offer the whole service of one's life to the 
creature.' "There is not a trace of justice in that 
heart," says St. Leo, "in which the love of gain has 
made itself a dwelling." The same thing is emphatically 
taught us by the counsels of perfection, and by every 
holy monk and nun anywhere, who has ever embraced 
them ; but it is needless to collect testimonies, when 
Scripture is so clear. 

Now, observe, Gentlemen, my drift in setting Scripture 
and the Fathers over against Political Economy. Of 
course if there is a science of wealth, it must give rules 
for gaining wealth and disposing of wealth, and can do no- 
thing more ; it cannot itself declare that it is a subordi- 
nate science, that its end is not the ultimate end of all 
things, and that its conclusions are only hypothetical, 
depending on its premisses, and liable to be overruled 
by a higher teaching. I do not then blame the Political 
Economist for anything which follows from the very 
idea of his science, from the very moment that it is 
recognized as a science. He must of course direct his 
inquiries towards his end ; but then at the same time it 
must be recollected, that so far he is not practical, but 
only pursues an abstract study, and is busy himself in 
establishing logical conclusions from indisputable pre- 
misses. Given that wealth is to be sought, this and 
that is the method of gaining it This is the extent to 
which a Political Economist has a right to go ; he has 
no right to determine that wealth is at any rate to be 
sought, or that it is the way to be virtuous and the price 

88 Discourse IV. 

of happiness ; I say, this is to pass the bounds of his 
science, independent of the question whether he be 
ricrht or wrong in so determining, fbr he is only con- 
cerned with an hypothesis. 

To take a parallel case : — a physician may tell you, 
that if you are to preserve your health, you must give 
up your employment and retire to the country. He 
distinctly says "if;" that is all in which he is concerned, 
he is no judge whether there are objects dearer to you, 
more urgent upon you, than the preservation of your 
health ; he does not enter into your circumstances, your 
duties, your liabilities, the persons dependent on you ; 
he knows nothing about what is advisable or what is 
not ; he only says, " I speak as a physician ; if you 
would be well, give up your profession, your trade, 
your office, whatever it is." However he may wish it, it 
would be impertinent in him to say more, unless indeed 
he spoke, not as a physician but as a friend ; and it 
would be extravagant, if he asserted that bodily health 
was the siiimmwi bomim, and that no one could be 
virtuous whose animal system was not in good order. 


But now let us turn to the teaching of the actual' 
Political Economist, in his present fashionable shape. I 
will take a very favourable instance of him : he shall be 
represented by a gentleman of high character, whose 
religious views are sufficiently guaranteed to us by his 
being the special choice, in this department of science, 
of a University removed more than any other Protes- 
tant body of the day from sordid or unchristian princi- 
ples on the subject of money-making. I say, if there 
be a place where Political Economy would be kept in 
order, and would not be suffered to leav^e the high road 

Bearing of Other Knowledge on Theology. 89 

and ride across the pastures anJ the gardens dedicated 
to other studies, it is the University of Oxford. And if 
a man could anywhere be found who would have too 
much good taste to offend the religious feeling of the 
place, or to say any thing which he would himself allow 
to be inconsistent with Revelation, I conceive it is the 
person whose temperate and well-considered composi- 
tion, as it would be generally accounted, I am going to 
offer to your notice. Nor did it occasion any excite- 
ment whatever on the part of the academical or the re- 
ligious public, as did the instances which I have hitherto 
been adducing. I am representing then the science of 
Political Economy, in its independent or unbridled 
action, to great advantage, when I select, as its specimen, 
the Inaugural Lecture upon it, delivered in the Univer- 
sity in question, by its first Professor. Yet with all these 
circumstances in its favour, you will soon see, Gentlemen, 
into what extravagance, for so I must call it, a grave 
lawyer is led in praise of his chosen science, merely 
from the circumstance that he has fixed his mind upon 
it, till he has forgotten there are subjects of thought 
higher and more heavenly than it. You will find be- 
yond mistake, that it is his object to recommend the 
science of wealth, by claiming for it an etliical quality, 
viz., by extolling it as the road to virtue and happi- 
ness, whatever Scripture and holy men may say to the 

He begins by predicting of Political Economy, that 
in the course of a very few years, " it will rank in public 
estimation among the first of moral sciences in interest 
and in utility." Then he explains most lucidly its 
objects and duties, considered as "the science which 
teaches in what wealth consists, by what agents it is 
produced, and according to what laws it is distributed, 

90 Discourse IV. 

and what are the institutions and customs by which pro- 
duction may be facihtated and distribution regulated, so 
as to give the largest possible amount of wealth to each 
individual." And he dwells upon the interest which 
attaches to the inquiry, " whether England has run her 
full career of wealth and improvement, but stands safe 
where she is, or whether to remain stationary is impos- 
sible." After this he notices a certain objection, which 
I shall set before you in his own words, as they will 
furnish me with the illustration I propose. 

This objection, he says, is, that, " as the pursuit of 
wealth is one of the humblest of human occupations, 
far inferior to the pursuit of virtue, or of knowledge, or 
even of reputation, and as the possession of wealth is 
not necessarily joined, — perhaps it will be said, is not 
conducive, — to happiness, a science, of which the only 
subject is wealth, cannot claim to rank as the first, or 
nearly the first, of moral sciences."* Certainly, to an 
enthusiast in behalf of any science whatever, the temp- 
tation is great to meet an objection urged against its 
dignity and worth ; however, from the very form of it, 
such an objection cannot receive a satisfactory answer 
by means of the science itself. It is an objection exter- 
nal to the science, and reminds us of the truth of Lord 
Bacon's remark, " No perfect discovery can be made 
upon a flat or a level ; neither is it possible to discover 
the more remote and deeper parts of any science, if you 
stand upon the level of the science, and ascend not to a 
higher science." -f The objection that Political Economy 
is inferior to the science of virtue, or does not con- 
duce to happiness, is an ethical or theological objection ; 
the question of its " rank " belongs to that Architectonic 

• Introd. Lecture on Pol. Econ. pp. ii, I2. 
+ .Advancement of I/caming. 

Bearing of Other Knowledge on Theology. 9 1 

Science or Philosophy, whatever it be, which is itself the 
arbiter of all truth, and which disposes of the claims 
and arranges the places of all the departments of know- 
ledge which man is able to master. I say, when an 
opponent of a particular science asserts that it does 
not conduce to happiness, and much more when its 
champion contends in reply that it certainly does con- 
duce to virtue, as this author proceeds to contend, the 
obvious question which occurs to one to ask is, what 
does Religion, what does Revelation, say on the point ? 
Political Economy must not be allowed to give judg- 
ment in its own favour, but must come before a higher 
tribunal. The objection is an appeal to the Theologian ; 
however, the Professor does not so view the matter ; he 
does not consider it a question for Philosophy ; nor in- 
deed on the other hand a question for Political Economy ; 
not a question for Science at all ; but for Private Judg- 
ment, — so he answers it himself, and as follows : 


"My answer," he says, "is, first, that the pursuit of 
wealth, that is, the endeavour to accumulate the means of 
future subsistence and enjoyment, is, to the mass of 
mankind, the great source of w/f^ra/ improvement." Now 
observe. Gentlemen, how exactly this bears out what I have 
been saying. It is just so far true, as to be able to instil 
what is false, far as the author was from any such design. 
I grant, then, that, ordinarily, beggary is not the means of 
moral improvement ; and that the orderly habits which 
attend upon the hot pursuit of gain, not only may effect 
an external decency, but may at least shelter the soul 
from the temptations of vice. Moreover, these habits of 
good order guarantee regularity in a family or household, 
and thus are accidentally the means of good ; moreover. 

92 Discourse IV. 

they lead to the education of its younger branches, and 
they thus accidentally provide the rising generation with 
a virtue or a truth which the present has not : but with- 
out going into these considerations, further than to allow 
them generally, and under circumstances, let us rather 
contemplate what the author's direct assertion is. He 
says," the endeavour to i^(:c;^m?//«/^," the words should be 
weighed, and for what? " for enjoyinent ; " — " to accumu- 
late the means of future subsistence and enjoyment, is, to 
the mass of mankind, t/ie great source," not merely a 
source, but the great source, and of what ? of social and 
political progress ? — such "an answer would have been 
more within the limits of his art, — no, but of something 
individual and personal, " of moral ijuprovementr The 
soul, in the case of " the mass of mankind," improves in 
moral excellence from this more than any thing else, viz., 
from heaping up the means of enjoying this world in 
time to come! I really should on every account be 
sorry. Gentlemen, to exaggerate, but indeed one is taken 
by surprise, one is startled, on meeting with so very 
categorical a contradiction of our Lord, St. Paul, St. 
Chrysostom, St. Leo, and all Saints. 

" No institution," he continues, " could be more bene- 
ficial to the morals of the lower orders, that is, to at least 
nine-tenths of the whole body of any people, than one 
which should increase their power and their wish to 
accumulate ; none more mischievous than one which 
should diminish their motives and means to save " No 
institution more beneficial than one which should increase 
the wish to accumulate I then Christianity is not one of 
such beneficial institutions, for it expressly says, " Lay 
not up to yourselves treasures on earth . . . for where 
thy treasure is, there is thy heart also ;" — no institution 
more mischievous than one which should diminish the 

Bearing of Oiher Kfiowiedge on Theology. 93 

motives to save! then Christianity is one of such mischiefs, 
for the inspired text proceeds, " Lay up to yourselves 
treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor the moth 
doth consume, and where thieves do not dig througli, 
nor steal." 

But it is not enough that morals and happiness are 
made to depend on gain and accumulation ; the practice 
of Religion is ascribed to these causes also, and in the 
following way. Wealth depends upon the pursuit of 
wealth ; education depends upon wealth ; knowledge 
depends on education ; and Religion depends on know- 
ledge ; therefore Religion depends on the pursuit of 
wealth. He says, after speaking of a poor and savage 
people, " Such a population must be grossly ignorant. 
The desire of knowledge is one of the last results 
of refinement ; it requires in general to have been im- 
planted in the mind during childhood ; and it is absurd 
to suppose that persons thus situated would have the 
power or the will to devote much to the education of 
their children. A further consequence is the absence 
of all real religion ; for the religion of the grossly igno- 
rant, if they have any, scarcely ever amounts to more 
than a debasing superstition." * The pursuit of gain 
then is the basis of virtue, religion, happiness ; though 
it is all the while, as a Christian knows, the " root 
of all evils," and the " poor on the contrary are blessed, 
for theirs is the kingdom of God." 

As to the argument contained in the logical Sorites 
which I have been drawing out, I anticipated just now 
what I should say to it in reply. I repeat, doutbtless 
" beggary," as the wise man says, is not desirable ; doubt- 
less, if men will not work, they should not eat ; there is 
doubtless a sense in which it may be said that mere 

* lutr. Lect., p. i6. 

94 Discourse IV. 

social or political virtue tends to moral and rel'gious 
excellence ; but the sense needs to be defined and the 
statement to be kept within bounds. This is the very- 
point on which I am all along insisting. I am not 
denying, I am granting, I am assuming, that there is 
reason and truth in the " leading ideas," as they are 
called, and " large views " of scientific men ; I only 
say that, though they speak truth, they do not speak the 
whole truth ; that they speak a narrow truth, and think it 
a broad truth ; that their deductions must be compared 
with other truths, which are acknowledged to be truths, 
in order to verify, complete, and correct them. They say 
what is true, exceptis excipiejidis ; what is true, but 
requires guarding ; true, but must not be ridden too 
hard, or made what is called a hobby ; true, but not the 
measure of all things ; true, but if thus inordinately, 
extravagantly, ruinously carried out, in spite of other 
sciences, in spite of Theology, sure to become but a 
great bubble, and to burst. 


I am getting to the end of this Discourse, before I 
have noticed one tenth part of the instances with which 
I might illustrate the subject of it. Else I should have 
wished especially to have dwelt upon the not unfrequent 
perversion which occurs of antiquarian and historical re- 
search, to the prejudice of Theology. It is undeniable 
that the records of former ages are of primary import- 
ance in determining Catholic doctrine ; it is undeniable 
also that there is a silence or a contrariety abstractedly 
conceivable in those records, as to an alleged portion of 
that doctrine, which would be sufficient to invalidate its 
claims on our acceptance ; but it is quite as undeniable 
that the existing documentary testimony to Catholicism 

Bearing of Other Knowledge on Theology. 95 

and Christianity may be so unduly valued as to be 
made the absolute measure of Revelation, as if no part 
of theological teaching were true which cannot bring its 
express text, as it is called, from Scripture, and authori- 
ties from the Fathers or profane writers, — whereas there 
are numberless facts in past times which we cannot deny, 
for they are indisputable, though history is silent about 
them. I suppose, on this score, we ought to deny that 
the round towers of this country had any origin, because 
history does not disclose it ; or that any individual came 
from Adam who cannot produce the table of his an- 
cestry. Yet Gibbon argues against the darkness at the 
Passion, from the accident that it is not mentioned by 
Pagan historians : — as well might he argue against the 
existence of Christianity itself in the first century, be- 
cause Seneca, Pliny, Plutarch, the Jewish Mishna, and 
other authorities are silent about it. Protestants argue 
in a parallel way against Transubstantiation, and Arians 
against our Lord's Divinity, viz., on the ground that 
extant writings of certain Fathers do not witness those 
doctrines to their satisfaction : — as well might they say 
that Christianity was not spread by the Twelve Apostles, 
because we know so little of their labours. The evidence 
of History, I say, is invaluable in its place ; but, if it as- 
sumes to be the sole means of gaining Religious Truth, 
it goes beyond its place. We are putting it to a larger 
office than it can undertake, if we countenance the 
usurpation ; and we are turning a true guide and bless- 
ing into a source of inexplicable difficulty and inter- 
minable doubt. 

And so of other sciences : just as Comparative Ana- 
tomy, Political Economy, the Philosophy of History, and 
the Science of Antiquities may be and are turned 
against Religion, by being taken by themselves, as I 

96 Discourse IV. 

have been showing, so a like mistake may befall any 
other. Grammar, for instance, at first sight does not 
appear to admit of a perversion ; yet Home Tooke 
made it the vehicle of his peculiar scepticism. Law 
would seem to have enough to do with its own clients, and 
their affairs ; and yet Mr. Bentham made a treatise on 
Judicial Proofs a covert attack upon the miracles of 
Revelation. And in like manner Physiology may deny 
moral evil and human responsibility ; Geology may deny 
Moses ; and Logic may deny the Holy Trinity ; * and 
other sciences, now rising into notice, are or will be 
victims of a similar abuse. 

And now to sum up what I have been saying in a few 
words. My object, it is plain, has been — not to show 
that Secular Science in its various departments may take 
up a position hostile to Theology ; — this is rather the 
basis of the objection with which I opened this Discourse ; 
— but to point out the cause of an hostility to which all 
parties will bear witness. I have been insisting then on 
this, that the hostility in question, when it occurs, is 
coincident with an evident deflection or exorbitance of 
Science from its proper course ; and that this exorbi- 
tance is sure to take place, almost from the necessity of 
the case, if Theology be not present to defend its own 
boundaries and to hinder the encroachment. The human 
mind cannot keep from speculating and systematizing ; 
and if Theology is not allowed to occupy its own territory, 
adjacent sciences, nay, sciences which are quite foreign to 
Theology, will take possession of it. And this occupation 
is proved to be a usurpation by this circumstance, that 
these foreign sciences will assume certain principles ar> 
* Vid, Abclard, for instance. 

Bearing of Other K)wwledge on Theology. 97 

true, and act upon them, which they neither have 
authority to lay down themselves, nor appeal to any 
other higher science to lay down for them. For example, 
it is a mere unwarranted assumption if the Antiquarian 
says, " Nothing has ever taken place but is to be found in 
historical documents;" or if the Philosophic Historian 
says, " There is nothing in Judaism different from other 
political institutions ; " or if the Anatomist, " There is 
no soul beyond the brain ; " or if the Political Economist, 
" Easy circumstances make men virtuous." These are 
enunciations, not of Science, but of Private Judgment ; 
and it is Private Judgment that infects every science 
which it touches with a hostility to Theology, a hostility 
which properly attaches to no science in itself whatever. 
If then. Gentlemen, I now resist such a course of 
acting as unphilosophical, what is this but to do as men 
of Science do when the interests of their own respective 
pursuits are at stake t If they certainly would resist the 
divine who determined the orbit of Jupiter by the 
Pentateuch, why am I to be accused of cowardice or 
illiberality, because I will not tolerate their attempt in 
turn to theologize by means of astronomy ? And if ex- 
perimentalists would be sure to cry out, did I attempt 
to install the Thomist philosophy in the schools of astro- 
nomy and medicine, why may not I, when Divine Science 
is ostracized, and La Place, or Buffon, or Humboldt, sits 
down in its chair, why may not I fairly protest against 
their exclusiveness, and demand the emancipation of 
Theology ? 

And now I consider I have said enough in proof of 
the first point, which I undertook to maintain, viz., the 
claim of Theology to be represented among the Chairs 
7* 7 

q8 Discourse IV. 

of a University. I have shown, I think, that exclusive- 
ness really attaches, not to those who support that claim, 
but to those who dispute it. I have argued in its behalf, 
first, from the consideration that, whereas it is the very 
profession of a University to teach all sciences, on this 
account it cannot exclude Theology without being untrue 
to its profession. Next, I have said that, all sciences 
being connected together, and having bearings one on 
another, it is impossible to teach them all thoroughly, 
unless they all are taken into account, and Theology 
among them. Moreover, I have insisted on the important 
influence, which Theology in matter of fact does and must 
exercise over a great variety of sciences, completing and 
correcting them ; so that, granting it to be a real science 
occupied upon truth, it cannot be omitted without great 
prejudice to the teaching of the rest. And lastly, I have 
urged that, supposing Theology be not taught, its 
province will not simply be neglected, but will be actually 
usurped by other sciences, which will teach, without 
warrant, conclusions of their own in a subject-matter 
wliich needs its own proper principles for its due forma- 
tion and disposition. 

Abstract statements are always unsatisfactory ; these, 
as I have already observed, could be illustrated at far 
ijreater length than the time allotted to me for the 
purpose has allowed. Let me hope that I have said 
enough upon the subject to suggest thoughts, which 
those who take an interest in it may pursue for them- 



A UNIVERSITY may be considered with reference 
either to its Students or to its Studies ; and the 
principle, that all Knowledge is a whole and the sepa- 
rate Sciences parts of one, which I have hitherto been 
using in behalf of its studies, is equally important when 
we direct our attention to its students. Now then I 
turn to the students, and shall consider the education 
which, by virtue of this principle, a University will give 
them ; and thus I shall be introduced. Gentlemen, to 
the second question, which I proposed to discuss, viz, 
whether and in what sense its teaching, viewed relatively 
to the taught, carries the attribute of Utility along with it. 


I have said that all branches of knowledge are con- 
nected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge 
is intimately united in itself, as being the acts and the 
work of the Creator. Hence it is that the Sciences, into 
which our knowledge may be said to be cast, have multi- 
plied bearings one on another, and an internal sympathy, 
and admit, or rather demand, comparison and adjustment. 
They complete, correct, balance each other. This con- 
sideration, if well-founded, must be taken into account, 
not only as regards the attainment of truth, which is 

lOo Disco am V, 

their common end, but as regards the influence which 
they exercise upon those whose education consists in the 
study of them. I have said already, that to give undue 
prominence to one is to be unjust to another ; to neglect 
or supersede these is to divert those from their proper 
object. It is to unsettle the boundary lines between 
science and science, to disturb their action, to destroy 
the harmony which binds them together. Such a pro- 
ceeding will have a corresponding effect when introduced 
into a place of education. There is no science but tells 
a different tale, when viewed as a portion of a whole, 
from what it is likely to suggest when taken by itself, 
without the safeguard, as I may call it, of others. 

Let me make use of an illustration. In the combination 
of colours, very different effects are produced by a 
difference in their selection and juxta-position ; red, green, 
and white, change their shades, according to the contrast 
to which they are submitted. And, in like manner, the 
drift and meaning of a branch of knowledge varies with 
the company in which it is introduced to the student. 
If his reading is confined simply to one subject, however 
such division of labour may favour the advancement of a 
particular pursuit, a point into which I do not here enter, 
certainly it has a tendency to contract his mind. If it is 
incorporated with others, it depends on those others as 
to the kind of influence which it exerts upon him. Thus 
the Classics, which in England are the means of refining 
the taste, have in France subserved the spread of revolu- 
tionary and deistical doctrines. In Metaphysics, again, 
Butler's Analogy of Religion, which has had so much to 
do with the conversion to the Catholic faith of members 
of the University of Oxford, appeared to Pitt and others, 
who had received a different training, to operate only in 
the direction of infidelity. And so again, Watson, Bishop 

Knowledge its Own End. loi 


of Llandaff, as I think he tells us in the narrative of his 
life, felt the science of Mathematics to indispose the 
mind to religious belief, while others see in its investiga- 
tions the best parallel, and thereby defence, of the Chris- 
tian Mysteries. In like manner, I suppose, Arcesilas 
would not have handled logic as Aristotle, nor Aristotle 
have criticized poets as Plato ; yet reasoning and poetry 
are subject to scientific rules. 

It is a great point then to enlarge the range of studies 
which a University professes, even for the sake of the 
students ; and, though they cannot pursue every subject 
which is open to them, they will be the gainers by living 
among those and under those who represent the whole 
circle. This I conceive to be the advantage of a seat of 
universal learning, considered as a place of education. 
An assemblage of learned men, zealous for their own 
sciences, and rivals of each other, are brought, by familiar 
intercourse and for the sake of intellectual peace, to 
adjust together the claims and relations of their respective 
subjects of investigation. They learn to respect, to 
consult, to aid each other. Thus is created a pure and 
clear atmosphere of thought, which the student also 
breathes, though in his own case he only pursues a few 
sciences out of the multitude. He profits by an intel- 
lectual tradition, which is independent of particular 
teachers, which guides him in his choice of subjects, and 
duly interprets for him those which he chooses. He 
apprehends the great outlines of knowledge, the principles 
on which it rests, the scale of its parts, its lights and its 
shades, its great points and its little, as he otherwise 
cannot apprehend them. Hence it is that his education 
is called " Liberal." A habit of mind is formed which 
lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, 
equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom ; or 

102 Discourse V, 

what in a former Discourse I have ventured to call a 
philosophical habit. This then I would assign as the 
special fruit of the education furnished at a University, 
as contrasted with other places of teaching or modes of 
teaching. This is the main purpose of a University in 
its treatment of its students. 

And now the question is asked me, What is the use 
of it.'' and my answer will constitute the main subject of 
the Discourses which are to follow. 

Cautious and practical thinkers, I say, will ask of me, 
what, after all, is the gain of this Philosophy, of which I 
make such account, and from which I promise so much. 
Even supposing it to enable us to exercise the degree of 
trust exactly due to every science respectively, and to 
estimate precisely the value of every truth which is any- 
where to be found, how are we better for this master view 
of things, which I have been extolling ^ Does it not re- 
verse the principle of the division of labour .-' will prac- 
tical objects be obtained better or worse by its culti- 
vation .>• to what then does it lead .? where does it end } 
what does it do .'' how does it profit .-* what does it 
promise } Particular sciences are respectively the basis 
of definite arts, which carry on to results tangible and 
beneficial the truths which are the subjects of the know- 
ledge attained ; what is the Art of this science of 
sciences .■' what is the fruit of such a Philosophy .■• what 
are we proposing to effect, what inducements do we hold 
out to the Catholic community, when we set about the 
enterprise of founding a University ? 

I am asked what is the end of University Education, 
and of the Liberal or Philosophical Knowledge which I 
conceive it to impart : I answer, that what I have already 

Knowledcre its Own End. 103 


said has been sufficient to show that it has a very tan- 
gible, real, and sufficient end, though the end cannot be 
divided from that knowledge itself. Knowledge is capa- 
ble of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the 
human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really 
such, is its own reward. And if this is true of all know- 
ledge, it is true also of that special Philosophy, which 
I have made to consist in a comprehensive view of truth 
in all its branches, of the relations of science to science, 
of their mutual bearings, and their respective values. 
What the worth of such an acquirement is, compared 
with other objects which we seek, — wealth or power or 
honour or the conveniences and comforts of life, I do not 
profess here to discuss ; but I would maintain, and 
mean to show, that it is an object, in its own nature so 
really and undeniably good, as to be the compensation 
of a great deal of thought in the compassing, and a 
great deal of trouble in the attaining. 

Now, when I say that Knowledge is, not merely a 
means to something beyond it, or the preliminary of 
certain arts into which it naturally resolves, but an end 
sufficient to rest in and to pursue for its own sake, surely 
I am uttering no paradox, for I am stating what is both 
intelligible in itself, and has ever been the common 
judgment of philosophers and the ordinary feeling of 
mankind. I am saying what at least the public opinion 
of this day ought to be slow to deny, considering how 
much we have heard of late years, in opposition to 
Religion, of entertaining, curious, and various knowledge. 
I am but saying what whole volumes have been written 
to illustrate, viz., by a "selection from the records of Phi- 
losophy, Literature, and Art, in all ages and countries, 
of a body of examples, to show how the most unpropitious 
circumstances have been unable to conquer an ardent 

I04 Discourse V. 

desire for the acquisition of knowledge." * That further 
advantages accrue to us and redound to others by its 
possession, over and above what it is in itself, I am very 
far indeed from denying ; but, independent of these, we 
are satisfying a direct need of our nature in its very 
acquisition ; and, whereas our nature, unlike that of the 
inferior creation, does not at once reach its perfection, 
but depends, in order to it, on a number of external aids 
and appliances. Knowledge, as one of the principal of 
these, is valuable for what its very presence in us does 
for us after the manner of a habit, even though it be 
turned to no further account, nor subserve any direct 

Hence it is that Cicero, in enumerating the various 
heads of mental excellence, lays down the pursuit of 
Knowledge for its own sake, as the first of them. " This 
pertains most of all to human nature," he says, " for we 
are all of us drawn to the pursuit of Knowledge ; in 
which to excel we consider excellent, whereas to mis- 
take, to err, to be ignorant, to be deceived, is both an 
evil and a disgrace."! And he considers Knowledge 
the very first object to which we are attracted, after the 
supply of our physical wants. After the calls and duties 
of our animal existence, as they may be termed, as re- 
gards ourselves, our family, and our neighbours, follows, 
he tells us, "the search after truth. Accordingly, as 
soon as we escape from the pressure of necessary cares, 
forthwith we desire to see, to hear, and to learn ; and 
consider the knowledge of what is hidden or is wonder- 
ful a condition of our happiness." 

• Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties. Introd. 
f Cicer. Offic. init. 

Knowledge its Own End. 105 

This passage, though it is but one of many similar 
passages in a multitude of authors, I take for the very- 
reason that it is so familiarly known to us ; and I wish 
you to observe, Gentlemen, how distinctly it separates 
the pursuit of Knowledge from those ulterior objects to 
which certainly it can be made to conduce, and which 
are, I suppose, solely contemplated by the persons who 
would ask of me the use of a University or Liberal 
Education. So far from dreaming of the cultivation of 
Knowledge directly and mainly in order to our physical 
comfort and enjoyment, for the sake of life and person, 
of health, of the conjugal and family union, of the social 
tie and civil security, the great Orator implies, that it is 
only after our physical and political needs are supplied, 
and when we are "free from necessary duties and cares," 
that we are in a condition for " desiring to see, to hear, 
and to learn." Nor does he contemplate in the least 
degree the reflex or subsequent action of Knowledge, 
when acquired, upon those material goods which we set 
out by securing before we seek it ; on the contrary, he 
expressly denies its bearing upon social life altogether, 
strange as such a procedure is to those who live after the 
rise of the Baconian philosophy, and he cautions us 
against such a cultivation of it as will interfere with our 
duties to our fellow-creatures. "All these methods," he 
says, " are engaged in the investigation of truth ; by the 
pursuit of which to be carried off from public occupa- 
tions is a transgression of duty. For the praise of virtue 
lies altogether in action ; yet intermissions often occur, 
and then we recur to such pursuits ; not to say that the 
incessant activit}' of the mind is vigorous enough to 
carry us on in the pursuit of knowledge, even without 
any exertion of our own." The idea of benefiting 
society by means of " the pursuit of science and know- 

io6 Discourse V. 

ledge " did not enter at all into the motives which he 
would assign for their cultivation. 

This was the ground of the opposition which the elder 
Cato made to the introduction of Greek Philosophy 
among his countrymen, when Carneades and his com- 
panions, on occasion of their embassy, were charming 
the Roman youth with their eloquent expositions of it. 
The fit representative of a practical people, Cato esti- 
mated every thing by what it produced ; whereas the 
Pursuit of Knowledge promised nothing beyond Know- 
ledge itself. He despised that refinement or enlargement 
of mind of which he had no experience. 


Things, which can bear to be cut off from every thing 
else and yet persist in living, must have life in themselves ; 
pursuits, which issue in nothing, and still maintain their 
ground for ages, which are regarded as admirable, though 
they have not as yet proved themselves to be useful, 
must have their sufficient end in themselves, whatever it 
turn out to be. And we are brought to the same con- 
clusion by considering the force of the epithet, by which 
the knowledge under consideration is popularly desig- 
nated. It is common to speak of " liberal knowledge," 
of the " liberal diXts and studies," and of a " liberal cdn- 
cation," as the especial characteristic or property of a 
University and of a gentleman ; what is really meant 
by the word .-' Now, first, in its grammatical sense it is 
opposed to servile; and by "servile work" is understood, 
as our catechisms inform us, bodily labour, mechanical 
employment, and the like, in which the mind has little 
or no part. Parallel to such servile works are those arts, 
jf they deserve the name, of which the poet speaks,* 

* T^X''V "^yX'f ^o'Tcp^e Kal tvxV Tixvnv. 

Vid. Arist. Nic. Ethic, vi. 

KnowLdge its Own End. 107 

which owe their origin and their method to hazard, not 
to skill ; as, for instance, the practice and operations of 
an empiric. As far as this contrast may be considered 
as a guide into the meaning of the word, liberal educa- 
tion and liberal pursuits are exercises of mind, of reason, 
of reflection. 

But we want something more for its explanation, for 
there are bodily exercises which are liberal, and mental 
exercises which are not so. For instance, in ancient 
times the practitioners in medicine were commonly 
slaves ; yet it w^as an art as intellectual in its nature, in 
spite of the pretence, fraud, and quackery with which it 
might then, as now, be debased, as it was heavenly in its 
aim. And so in hke manner, we contrast a liberal 
education with a commercial education or a professional ; 
yet no one can deny that commerce and the professions 
afford scope for the highest and most diversified powers 
of mind. There is then a great variety of intellectual 
exercises, which are not technically called " liberal ; " on 
the other hand, I say, there are exercises of the body 
which do receive that appellation. Such, for instance, 
was the palaestra, in ancient times ; such the Olympic 
games, in which strength and dexterity of body as well 
as of mind gained the prize. In Xenophon we read of 
the young Persian nobility being taught to ride on horse-, 
back and to speak the truth ; both being among the 
accomplishments of a gentleman. War, too, however 
rough a profession, has ever been accounted liberal, 
unless in cases when it becomes heroic, which would 
introduce us to another subject. 

Now comparing these instances together, we shall 
have no difficulty in determining the principle of this 
apparent variation in the application of the term which 
I am examining. Manly games, or games of skill, or 

io8 DiscoiLvsc V. 

military prowess, though bodily, are, it seems, accounted 
liberal ; on the other hand, what is merely professional, 
though highly intellectual, nay, though liberal in com- 
parison of trade and manual labour, is not simply called 
liberal, and mercantile occupations are not liberal at all. 
Why this distinction ? because that alone is liberal know- 
ledge, which stands on its own pretensions, which is 
independent of sequel, expects no complement, refuses 
to be informed (as it is called) by any end, or absorbed 
into any art, in order duly to present itself to our con- 
templation. The most ordinary pursuits have this specific 
character, if they are self-sufficient and complete ; the 
highest lose it, when they minister to something beyond 
them. It is absurd to balance, in point of worth and 
importance, a treatise on reducing fractures with a game 
of cricket or a fox-chase ; yet of the two the bodily 
exercise has that quality which we call " liberal," and 
the intellectual has it not. And so of the learned pro- 
fessions altogether, considered merely as professions ; 
although one of them be the most popularly beneficial, 
and another the most politically important, and the third 
the most intimately divine of all human pursuits, yet 
the very greatness of their end, the health of the body, 
or of the commonwealth, or of the soul, diminishes, not 
increases, their claim to the appellation " liberal," and 
that still more, if they are cut down to the strict exigen- 
cies of that end. If, for instance. Theology, instead of 
being cultivated as a contemplation, be limited to the 
purposes of the pulpit or be represented by the cate- 
chism, it loses, — not its usefulness, not its divine character, 
not its meritoriousness (rather it gains a claim upon these 
titles by such charitable condescension), — but it does lose 
the particular attribute which I am illustrating; just as 
a face worn by tears and fasting loses its beauty, or a 

Knowledge its Own E^id. 109 

labourer's hand loses its delicateness ; — for Theology 
thus exercised is not simple knowledge, but rather is 
an art or a business making use of Theology. And 
thus it appears that even what is supernatural need not 
be liberal, nor need a hero be a gentleman, for the plain 
reason that one idea is not another idea. And in like 
manner the Baconian Philosophy, by using its physical 
sciences in the service of man, does thereby transfer them 
from the order of Liberal Pursuits to, I do not say the 
inferior, but the distinct class of the Useful. And, to 
take a different instance, hence again, as is evident, 
v.'henever personal gain is the motive, still more distinc- 
tive an effect has it upon the character of a given pursuit ; 
thus racing, which was a liberal exercise in Greece, for- 
feits its rank in times like these, so far as it is made the 
occasion of gambling. 

All that I have been now saying is summed up in a 
few characteristic words of the great Philosopher. " Of 
possessions," he says, " those rather are useful, which 
bear fruit ; those liberal, whicJi tend to enjoyment. By 
fruitful, I mean, which yield revenue ; by enjoyable, 
where notJdng accrues of consequence beyond the using!'* 

Do not suppose, that in thus appealing to the ancients, 
I am throwing back the world two thousand years, and 
fettering Philosophy with the reasonings of paganism. 
While the world lasts, will Aristotle's doctrine on these 
matters last, for he is the oracle of nature and of truth. 
While we are men, we cannot help, to a great extent, 
being Aristotelians, for the great Master does but analyze 
the thoughts, feelings, views, and opinions of human kind. 
He has told us the meaning of our own words and ideas, 

• Aristot. Rhet. i. 5. 

I lO Discourse V. 

before we were born. In many subject-matters, to think 
correctly, is to think like Aristotle ; and we are his dis- 
ciples whether we will or no, though we may not know 
it. Now, as to the particular instance before us, the 
word "liberal" as applied to Knowledge and Education, 
expresses a specific idea, which ever has been, and ever 
will be, while the nature of man is the same, just as the 
idea of the Beautiful is specific, or of the Sublime, or of 
the Ridiculous, or of the Sordid. It is in the world 
now, it was in the world then ; and, as in the case of 
the dogmas of faith, it is illustrated by a continuous 
historical tradition, and never was out of the world, from 
the time it came into it. There have indeed been dif- 
ferences of opinion from time to time, as to what pur- 
suits and what arts came under that idea, but such 
differences are but an additional evidence of its reality. 
That idea must have a substance in it, which has main- 
tained its ground amid these conflicts and changes, 
which has ever served as a standard to measure things 
withal, which has passed from mind to mind unchanged, 
when there was so much to colour, so much to influence 
any notion or thought whatever, which was not founded 
in our very nature. Were it a mere generalization, it 
would have varied with the subjects from which it was 
generalized ; but though its subjects vary with the age, 
it varies not itself. The palaestra may seem a liberal 
exercise to Lycurgus, and illiberal to Seneca ; coach- 
driving and prize-fighting may be recognized in E!is, 
and be condemned in England ; music may be despica- 
ble in the eyes of certain moderns, and be in the highest 
place with Aristotle and Plato, — (and the case is the 
same in the particular application of the idea of Beauty, 
or of Goodness, or of Moral Virtue, there is a difference 
of tastes, a difference of judgments^ — still these varia- 

Knowleds^e its Own Ejid. 1 1 1 


tions imply, instead of discrediting, the archetypal idea, 
which is but a previous hypothesis or condition, by 
means of which issue is joined between contending 
opinions, and without which there would be nothing to 
dispute about. 

I consider, then, that I am chargeable with no para- 
dox, when I speak of a Knowledge which is its own end, 
when I call it liberal knowledge, or a gentleman's know- 
ledge, when I educate for it, and make it the scope of a 
University. And still less am I incurring such a charge, 
when I make this acquisition consist, not in Knowledge 
in a vague and ordinary sense, but in that Knowledge 
which I have especially called Philosophy or, in an ex- 
tended sense of the word. Science ; for whatever claims 
Knowledge has to be considered as a good, these it has 
in a higher degree when it is viewed not vaguely, not 
popularly, but precisely and transcendently as Philo- 
sophy. Knowledge, I say, is then especially liberal, or 
sufficient for itself, apart from every external and ulterior 
object, when and so far as it is philosophical, and this I 
proceed to show. 


Now bear with me, Gentlemen, if what I am about to 
say, has at first sight a fanciful appearance. Philosophy, 
then, or Science, is related to Knowledge in this way : — 
Knowledge is called by the name of Science or Philoso- 
phy, when it is acted upon, informed, or if I may use a 
strong figure, impregnated by Reason. Reason is the 
principle of that intrinsic fecundity of Knowledge, which, 
to those who possess it, is its especial value, and which 
dispenses with the necessity of their looking abroad for 
any end to rest upon external to itself. Knowied'^e, in- 
deed, when thus exalted into a scientific form, is also 

1 1 2 Discourse V. 

power ; not only is it excellent in itself, but whatever 
such excellence may be, it is something more, it has a 
result beyond itself. Doubtless ; but that is a further 
consideration, with which I am not concerned. I only 
say that, prior to its being a power, it is a good ; that it 
is, not only an instrument, but an end. I know well it 
may resolve itself into an art, and terminate in a 
mechanical process, and in tangible fruit ; but it also 
may fall back upon that Reason which informs it, and 
resolve itself into Philosophy. In one case it is called 
Useful Knowledge, in the other Liberal. The same person 
may cultivate it in both ways at once ; but this again 
is a matter foreign to my subject ; here I do but say 
that there are two ways of using Knowledge, and in 
matter of fact those who use it in one way are not likely 
to use it in the other, or at least in a very limited mea- 
sure. You see, then, here are two methods of Education ; 
the end of the one is to be philosophical, of the other to 
be mechanical ; the one rises towards general ideas, the 
other is exhausted upon what is particular and external. 
Let me not be thought to deny the necessity, or to decry 
the benefit, of such attention to what is particular and 
practical, as belongs to the useful or mechanical arts; life 
could not go on without them ; we owe our daily welfare 
to them ; their exercise is the duty of the many, and we 
owe to the many a debt of gratitude for fulfilling that 
duty. I only say that Knowledge, in proportion as it 
tends more and more to be particular, ceases to be 
Knowledge. It is a question whether Knowledge can 
in any proper sense be predicated of the brute creation ; 
without pretending to metaphysical exactness of phrase- 
ology, which would be unsuitable to an occasion like this, 
I say, it seems to me improper to call that passive sen- 
sation, or perception of things, which brutes seem to 

Knowlcdore its Own End, 1 1 ; 


possess, by the name of Knowledge. When I speak of 
Knowledge, I mean something intellectual/ something 
which grasps what it perceives through the senses ; some- 
thing which takes a view of things ; which sees more 
than the senses convey ; which reasons upon what it 
sees, and while it sees ; which invests it with an idea. 
It expresses itself, not in a mere enunciation, but by an 
enthymeme : it is of the nature of science from the first, 
and in this consists its dignity. The principle of real 
dignity in Knowledge, its worth, its desirableness, cor^- 
sidered irrespectively of its results, is this germ within it 
of a scientific or a philosophical process. This is how 
it comes to be an end in itself ; this is why it admits of 
being called Liberal. Not to know the relative dispo- 
sition of things is the state of slaves or children; to have 
mapped out the Universe is the boast, or at least the 
ambition, of Philosophy, 

Moreover, such knowledge is not a mere extrinsic or 
accidental advantage, which is ours to-day and another's 
to-morrow, which may be got up from a book, and 
easily forgotten again, which we can command or com- 
municate at our pleasure, which we can borrow for the 
occasion, carry about in our hand, and take into the 
market ; it is an acquired illumination, it is a habit, a 
personal possession, and an inward endowment. And 
this is the reason, why it is more correct, as well as more 
usual, to speak of a University as a place of education, 
than of instruction, though, when knowledge is concerned, 
instruction would at first sight have seemed the more 
appropriate word. We are instructed, for instance, in 
manual exercises, in the fine and useful arts, in trades, 
and in ways of business ; for these are methods, which 
have little or no effect upon the mind itself, are contained 
in rules committed to memory, to tradition, or to use, 
7* 8 

1 14 Discourse V. 

and bear upon an end external to themselves. But 
education is a higher word ; it implies an action upon 
our mental nature, and the formation of a character ; it 
is something individual and permanent, and is commonly- 
spoken of in connexion with religion and virtue. When, 
then, we speak of the communication of Knowledge as 
being Education, we thereby really imply that that 
Knowledge is a state or condition of mind ; and since 
cultivation of mind is surely worth seeking for its own 
sake, we are thus brought once more to the conclusion, 
which the word " Liberal " and the word " Philosophy " 
have already suggested, that there is a Knowledge, 
which is desirable, though nothing come of it, as being 
of itself a treasure, and a sufficient remuneration of years 
of labour. 


This, then, is the answer which I am prepared to give 
to the question with which I opened this Discourse. 
Before going on to speak of the object of the Church in 
taking up Philosophy, and the uses to which she puts it, 
I am prepared to maintain that Philosophy is its own 
end, and, as I conceive, I have now begun the proof of 
it. I am prepared to maintain that there is a knowledge 
worth possessing for what it is, and not merely for what 
it does ; and what minutes remain to me to-day I shall 
devote to the removal of some portion of the indistinct- 
ness and confusion with which the subject may in some 
minds be surrounded. 

It may be objected then, that, when we profess to 
seek Knowledge for some end or other bej^ond itself, 
whatever it be, we speak intelligibly ; but that, what- 
ever men may have said, however obstinately the idea 
may have kept its ground from age to age, still it is 

Knowledge its Own End. 115 

simply unmeaning to say that we seek Knowledge for 
its own sake, and for nothing else ; for that it ever leads 
to something beyond itself, which therefore is its end, 
and the cause why it is desirable ; — moreover, that this 
end is twofold, either of this world or of the next ; that 
all knowledge is cultivated either for secular objects or 
for eternal ; that if it is directed to secular objects, it is 
called Useful Knowledge, if to eternal. Religious or 
Christian Knowledge ; — in consequence, that if, as I have 
allowed, this Liberal Knowledge does not benefit the 
body or estate, it ought to benefit the soul ; but if the 
fact be really so, that it is neither a physical or a secular 
good on the one hand, nor a moral good on the other, it 
cannot be a good at all, and is not worth the trouble 
which is necessary for its acquisition. 

And then I may be reminded that the professors of this 
Liberal or Philosophical Knowledge have themselves, in 
every age, recognized this exposition of the matter, and 
have submitted to the issue in which it terminates ; for 
they have ever been attempting to make men virtuous ; 
or, if not, at least have assumed that refinement of mind 
was virtue, and that they themselves were the virtuous 
portion of mankind. This they have professed on the 
one hand ; and on the other, they have utterly failed in 
their professions, so as ever to make themselves a proverb 
among men, and a laughing-stock both to the grave and 
the dissipated portion of mankind, in consequence of 
them. Thus they have furnished against themselves both 
the ground and the means of their own exposure, with- 
out any trouble at all to any one else. In a word, from 
the time that Athens was the University of the world, 
what has Philosophy taught men, but to promise without 
practising, and to aspire without attaining.? What has 
the deep and lofty thought of its disciples ended in but 

1 16 Discourse V. 

eloquent words ? Nay, what has its teaching ever medi- 
tated, when it was boldest in its remedies for human ill, 
beyond charming us to sleep by its lessons, that we 
might feel nothing at all ? like some melodious air, or 
rather like those strong and transporting perfumes, which 
at first spread their sweetness over every thing they 
touch, but in a little while do but offend in proportion as 
they once pleased us. Did Philosophy support Cicero 
under the disfavour of the fickle populace, or nerve Seneca 
to oppose an imperial tyrant ? It abandoned Brutus, as he 
sorrowfully confessed, in his greatest need, and it forced 
Cato, as his panegyrist strangely boasts, into the false 
position of defying heaven. How few can be counted 
among its professors, who, like Polemo, were thereby 
converted from a profligate course, or like Anaxagoras, 
thought the world well lost in exchange for its posses- 
sion .-• The philosopher in Rasselas taught a superhuman 
doctrine, and then succumbed without an effort to a trial 
of human affection. 

" He discoursed," we are told, " with great energy on 
the government of the passions. His look was venerable, 
his action graceful, his pronunciation clear, and his 
diction elegant. He showed, with great strength of 
sentiment and variety of illustration, that human nature 
is degraded and debased, when the lower faculties pre- 
dominate over the higher. He communicated the 
various precepts given, from time to time, for the con- 
quest of passion, and displayed the happiness of those 
who had obtained the important victory, after which 
man is no longer the slave of fear, nor the fool of hope . . , 
He enumerated many examples of heroes immoveable 
by pain or pleasure, who looked with indifference on 
those modes or accidents to which the vulgar give the 
names of ffood and evil." 

K^icwledgc its Ozvn End. iiy 

Rasselas in a few days found the philosopher in a 
room half darkened, with his eyes misty, and his face 
pale. " Sir," said he, " you have come at a time when 
all human friendship is useless ; what I suffer cannot be 
remedied, what I have lost cannot be supplied. My 
daughter, my only daughter, from whose tenderness I 
expected all the comforts of my age, died last night of 
a fever." " Sir," said the prince, " mortality is an event 
by which a wise man can never be surprised ; we know 
that death is always near, and it should therefore always 
be expected." " Young man," answered the philosopher, 
"you speak like one who has never felt the pangs of 
separation." " Have you, then, forgot the precept," said 
Rasselas, " which you so powerfully enforced .-*... con- 
sider that external things are naturally variable, but 
truth and reason are always the same." "What comfort," 
said the mourner, " can truth and reason afford me ? 
Of what effect are they now, but to tell me that my 
daughter will not be restored .-* " 


Better, far better, to make no professions, you will 
say, than to cheat others with what we are not, and to 
scandalize them with what we are. The sensualist, or 
the man of the world, at any rate is not the victim of fine 
words, but pursues a reality and gains it. The Philo- 
sophy of Utility, you will say. Gentlemen, has at least 
done its work ; and I grant it, — it aimed low, but it has 
fulfilled its aim. If that man of great intellect who has 
been its Prophet in the conduct of life played false to 
his own professions, he was not bound by his philosophy 
to be true to his friend or faithful in his trust. Moral 
virtue was not the line in which he undertook to instruct 
men ; and though, as the poet calls him, he were the 

1 1 8 Discourse V. 

"meanest" of mankind, he was so in what may be called 
his private capacity and without any prejudice to the 
theory of induction. He had a right to be so, if he chose, 
for any thing that the Idols of the den or the theatre 
had to say to the contrary. His mission was the 
increase of physical enjoyment and social comfort ; * 
and most wonderfully, most awfully has he fulfilled his 
conception and his design. Almost day by day have 
we fresh and fresh shoots, and buds, and blossoms, 
which are to ripen into fruit, on that magical tree of 
Knowledge which he planted, and to which none of 
us perhaps, except the very poor, but owes, if not his 
present life, at least his daily food, his health, and 
general well-being. He was the divinely provided 
minister of temporal benefits to all of us so great, that, 
whatever I am forced to think of him as a man, I have 
not the heart, from mere gratitude, to speak of him 
severely. And, in spite of the tendencies of his philoso- 
phy, which are, as we see at this day, to depreciate, or 
to trample on Theology, he has himself, in his writings, 
gone out of his way, as if with a prophetic misgiving 
of those tendencies, to insist on it as the instrument of 
that beneficent Father,t who, when He came on earth in 
visible form, took on Him first and most prominently 

* It will be seen that on the whole I agree with Lord Macaulay in his 
Essay on Bacon's Philosophy. I do not know whether he would agree 
with me. 

f De Augment, iv. 2, vid. Macaulay 's Essay ; vid. also "Inprincipio 
operis ad Deum Patrem, Deum Verbum, Deum Spiritum, preces fundimus 
humillimas et ardentissimas, ut humani generis serumnarum memores, et 
peregrinationis istius vitas, in qua dies paucos et malos terimus, notis suis 
eleemosynis, per tnanus nostras, familiam humanam dotare dignentur. 
Atque illud insuper supplices rogamus, ne humana divinis officiant ; neve 
ex reseratione viarum sensds, et accensione majore himinis naturalis, aliquid 
incredulitatis et noctis, animis nostris erga divina mysteria oboi^iatur," etc. 
Pia:/. Instaur. Magn. 

Knowledge Us Own End. 119 

the office of assuaging the bodily wounds of human 
nature. And truly, like the old mediciner in the tale, 
"he sat diligently at his work, and hummed, with 
cheerful countenance, a pious song ; " and then in turn 
" went out singing into the meadows so gaily, that those 
who had seen him from afar might well have thought it 
was a youth gathering flowers for his beloved, instead 
of an old physician gathering healing herbs in the 
morning dew." * 

Alas, that men, in the action of life or in their heart 
of hearts, are not what they seem to be in their moments 
of excitement, or in their trances or intoxications of 
genius, — so good, so noble, so serene ! Alas, that Bacon 
too in his own way should after all be but the fellow of 
those heathen philosophers who in their disadvantages 
had some excuse for their inconsistency, and who surprise 
us rather in what they did say than in what they did 
not do ! Alas, that he too, like Socrates or Seneca, must 
be stripped of his holy-day coat, which looks so fair, and 
should be but a mockery amid his most majestic gravity 
of phrase ; and, for all his vast abilities, should, in the 
littleness of his own moral being, but typify the intel- 
lectual narrowness of his school ! However, granting 
all this, heroism after all was not his philosophy : — I 
cannot deny he has abundantly achieved what he 
proposed. His is simply a Method whereby bodily dis- 
comforts and temporal wants are to be most effectually 
removed from the greatest number ; and already, before 
it has shown any signs of exhaustion, the gifts of nature, 
in their most artificial shapes and luxurious profusion 
and diversity, from all quarters of the earth, are, it is 
undeniable, by its means brought even to our doors, and 
we rejoice in them. 

* Fouque's Unknown Patient. 

120 Discourse K 


Useful Knowledge then, I grant, has done its work ; 
and Liberal Knowledge as certainly has not done its 
work, — that is, supposing, as the objectors assume, its 
direct end, like Religious Knowledge, is to make men 
better ; but this I will not for an instant allow, and, 
unless I allow it, those objectors have said nothing to 
the purpose. I admit, rather I maintain, what they have 
been urging, for I consider Knowledge to have its end ia 
itself. For all its friends, or its enemies, may say, I 
insist upon it, that it is as real a mistake to burden it 
with virtue or religion as with the mechanical arts. Its 
direct business is not to steel the soul against temptation 
or to console it in affliction, any more than to set the 
loom in motion, or to direct the steam carriage ; be it 
ever so much the means or the condition of both ma- 
terial and moral advancement, still, taken by and in 
itself, it as little mends our hearts as it improves our 
temporal circumstances. And if its eulogists claim for 
it such a power, they commit the very same kind of 
encroachment on a province not their own as the 
political economist who should maintain that his science 
educated him for casuistry or diplomacy. Knowledge 
is one thing, virtue is another ; good sense is not con- 
science, refinement is not humility, nor is largeness and 
justness of view faith. Philosophy, however enlightened, 
however profound, gives no command over the passions, 
no influential motives, no vivifying principles. Liberal 
Education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, 
but the gentleman. It is well to be a gentlemen, it is 
well to have a cultivated intellect, a delicate taste, a 
candid, equitable, dispassionate mind, a noble and 
courteous bearing in the conduct of life ; — these are the 

Knowledore its Own End. 121 


connatural qualrties of a large knowledge ; they are the 
objects of a University ; I am advocating, I shall illus- 
trate and insist upon them ; but still, I repeat, they are 
no guarantee for sanctity or even for conscientiousness, 
they may attach to the man of the world, to the profli- 
gate, to the heartless, — pleasant, alas, and attractive as 
he shows when decked out in them. Taken by them- 
selves, they do but seem to be what they are not ; they 
look like virtue at a distance, but they are detected by 
close observers, and on the long run ; and hence it is 
that they are popularly accused of pretence and hypo- 
crisy, not, I repeat, from their own fault, but because 
their professors and their admirers persist in taking them 
for what they are not, and are officious in arrogating for 
them a praise to which they have no claim. Quarry the 
granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a 
thread of silk ; then may you hope with such keen and 
delicate instruments as human knowledge and human 
reason to contend against those giants, the passion and 
the pride of man. 

Surely we are not driven to theories of this kind, in 
order to vindicate the value and dignity of Liberal 
Knowledge. Surely the real grounds on which its pre- 
tensions rest are not so very subtle or abstruse, so very 
strange or improbable. Surely it is very intelligible to 
say, and that is what I say here, that Liberal Education, 
viewed in itself, is simply the cultivation of the intellect, 
as such, and its object is nothing more or less than 
intellectual excellence. Every thing has its own perfec- 
tion, be it higher or lower in the scale of things ; and the 
perfection of one is not the perfection of another. 
Things animate, inanimate, visible, invisible, all are good 
in their kind, and have a best of themselves, which is an 
object of pursuit. Why do you take such pains with 

122 Discourse V. 

your garden or your park ? You see to your walks and 
turf and shrubberies ; to your trees and drives ; not as 
if you meant to make an orchard of the one, or corn or 
pasture land of the other, but because there is a special 
beauty in all that is goodly in wood, water, plain, and 
slope, brought all together by art into one shape, and 
grouped into one whole. Your cities are beautiful, your 
palaces, your public buildings, your tcritorial mansions, 
your churches ; and their beauty leads to nothing beyond 
itself. There is a physical beauty and a moral : there is 
a beauty of person, there is a beauty of our moral being, 
which is natural virtue ; and in like maimer there is a 
beauty, there is a perfection, of the intellect. There is 
an ideal perfection in these various subject-matters, 
towards which individual instances are seen to rise, and 
which are the standards for all instances whatever. The 
Greek divinities and demigods, as the statuary has 
moulded them, with their symmetry of figure, and 
their high forehead and their regular features, are the 
perfection of physical beauty. The heroes, of whom 
history tells, Alexander, or Caesar, or Scipio, or Saladin, 
are the representatives of that magnanimity or self- 
mastery which is the greatness of human nature. Chris- 
tianity too has its heroes, and in the supei'natural order, 
and we call them Saints. The artist puts before him 
beauty of feature and form ; the poet, beauty of mind ; 
the preacher, the beauty of grace : then intellect too, I 
repeat, has its beauty, and it has those who aim at it. 
To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it 
to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its know- 
ledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, 
flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, 
address, eloquent expression, is an object as intelligible 
(for here we are inquiring, not what the object of a 

Knowledge its Own End. 123 

Liberal Education is worth, nor what use the Church 
makes of it, but what it is in itself), I say, an object as 
intelligible as the cultivation of virtue, while, at the 
same time, it is absolutely distinct from it. 


This indeed is but a temporal object, and a transitory 
possession ; but so are other things in themselves which 
we make much of and pursue. The moralist will tell 
us that man, in all his functions, is but a flower which 
blossoms and fades, except so far as a higher principle 
breathes upon him, and makes him and what he is im- 
mortal. Body and mind are carried on into an eternal 
state of being by the gifts of Divine Munificence ; but 
at first they do but fail in a failing world ; and if the 
powers of intellect decay, the powers of the body have 
decayed before them, and, as an Hospital or an Alms- 
house, though its end be ephemeral, may be sanctified 
to the service of religion, so surely may a University, 
even were it nothing more than I have as yet described 
it. We attain to heaven by using this world well, 
though it is to pass away ; we perfect our nature, not by 
undoing it, but by adding to it what is more than nature, 
and directing it towards aims higher than its own. 




IT were well if the English, like the Greek language, 
possessed some definite word to express, simply and 
generally, intellectual proficiency or perfection, such as 
" health," as used with reference to the animal frame, and 
"virtue," with reference to our moral nature. I am not 
able to find such a term ; — talent, ability, genius, belong 
distinctly to the raw material, which is the subject-matter, 
not to that excellence which is the result of exercise and 
training. When we turn, indeed, to the particular kinds 
of intellectual perfection, words are forthcoming for our 
purpose, as, for instance, judgment, taste, and skill ; yet 
even these belong, for the most part, to powers or 
habits bearing upon practice or upon art, and not to any 
perfect condition of the intellect, considered in itself 
Wisdom, again, is certainly a more comprehensive word 
than any other, but it has a direct relation to conduct, 
and to human life. Knowledge, indeed, and Science 
express purely intellectual ideas, but still not a state 
or quality of the intellect ; for knowledge, in its ordinary 
sense, is but one of its circumstances, denoting a posses- 
sion or a habit ; and science has been appropriated to 
the subject-matter of the intellect, instead of belonging 
in English, as it ought to do, to the intellect itself. The 

Kjiow ledge viewed m Relation to Learning. 125 

consequence is that, on an occasion like this, many words 
are necessary, in order, first, to bring out and convey 
what surely is no difficult idea in itself, — that of the 
cultivation of the intellect as an end ; next, in order to 
recommend what surely is no unreasonable object ; and 
lastly, to describe and make the mind realize the particular 
perfection in which that object consists. Every one 
knows practically what are the constituents of health or 
of virtue ; and every one recognizes health and virtue as 
ends to be pursued ; it is otherwise with intellectual 
excellence, and this must be my excuse, if I seem to 
any one to be bestowing a good deal of labour on 
a preliminary matter. 

In default of a recognized term, I have called the 
perfection or virtue of the intellect by the name of philo- 
sophy, philosophical knowledge, enlargement of mind, 
or illumination ; terms which are not uncommonly given 
to it by writers of this day : but, whatever name we 
bestow on it, it is, I believe, as a matter of history, the 
business of a University to make this intellectual culture 
its direct scope, or to employ itself in the education of 
the intellect, — just as the work of a Hospital lies in 
healing the sick or wounded, of a Riding or Fencing 
School, or of a Gymnasium, in exercising the limbs, of 
an Almshouse, in aiding and solacing the old, of an 
Orphanage, in protecting innocence, of a Penitentiary, 
in restoring the guilty. I say, a University, taken in its 
bare idea, and before we view it as an instrument of the 
Church, has this object and this mission ; it contemplates 
neither moral impression nor mechanical production ; it 
professes to exercise the mind neither in art nor in 
duty ; its function is intellectual culture ; here it may 
leave its scholars, and it has done its work when it 
has done as much as this. It educates the intellect 

126 Discourse VI. 

to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards 
truth, and to grasp it 

This, I said in my foregoing Discourse, was the object 
of a University, viewed in itself, and apart from the 
Catholic Church, or from the State, or from any other 
power which may use it ; and I illustrated this in various 
ways. I said that the intellect must have an excellence 
of its own, for there was nothing which had not its 
specific good ; that the word " educate" would net be 
used of intellectual culture, as it is used, had not the 
intellect had an end of its own ; that, had it not such an 
end, there would be no meaning in calling certain 
intellectual exercises "liberal," in contrast with "useful," 
as is commonly done ; that the very notion of a philo- 
sophical temper implied it, for it threw us back upon 
research and system as ends in themselves, distinct from 
effects and works of any kind ; that a philosophical 
scheme of knowledge, or system of sciences, could net, 
from the nature of the case, issue in any one definite art 
or pursuit, as its end ; and that, on the other hand, the 
discovery and contemplation of truth, to which research 
and systematizing led, were surely suflicient ends, though 
nothing be3^ond them were added, and that they had 
ever been accounted sufficient by mankind. 

Here then I take up the subject ; and, having deter- 
mined that the cultivation of the intellect is an end distinct 
and sufficient in itself, and that, so far as words go^ it 
is an enlargement or illumination, I proceed to inquire 
what this mental breadth, or power, or light, or philo- 
sophy consists in. A Hospital heals a broken limb or 
cures a fever : what does an Institution effect, which 
professes the health, not of the body, not of the soul, 

Know led ore viewed in Relation to Learning. 127 


but of the intellect ? What is this good, which in 
former times, as well as our own, has been found worth 
the notice, the appropriation, of the Catholic Church ? 

I have then to investigate, in the Discourses which 
follow, those qualities and characteristics of the intellect 
in which its cultivation issues or rather consists ; and, 
with a view of assisting myself in this undertaking, I 
shall recur to certain questions which have already been 
touched upon. These questions are three : viz. the 
relation of intellectual culture, first, to vio-e knowledge ; 
secondly, to professional knowledge ; and thirdly, to 
religions knowledge. In other words, are acquirements 
and attainmeiits the scope of a University Education .-• 
or expertness in particular arts and pursuits ? or moral 
and religious proficiejicy ? or something besides these 
three 'i These questions I shall examine in succession, 
with the purpose I have mentioned ; and I hope to be 
excused, if, in this anxious undertaking, I am led to 
repeat what, either in these Discourses or elsewhere, I 
have already put upon paper. And first, of Mere 
Knowledge, or Learning, and its connexion with intel- 
lectual illumination or Philosophy. 


I suppose the primd-facie view which the public at 
large would take of a University, considering it as a place 
of Education, is nothing more or less than a place for 
acquiring a great deal of knowledge on a great many 
subjects. Memory is one of the first developed of the 
mental faculties ; a boy's business when he goes to 
school is to learn, that is, to store up things in his 
memory. For some years his intellect is little more 
than an instrument for taking in facts, or a receptacle for 
storing them ; he welcomes them as fast as they come to 

128 Discourse VI. 

him ; he lives on what is without ; he has his eyes ever 
about him ; he has a Hvely susceptibility of impressions ; 
he imbibes information of every kind ; and little does he 
make his own in a true sense of the word, living rather 
upon his neighbours all around him. He has opinions, 
religious, political, and literary, and, for a boy, is ver)' 
positive in them and sure about them ; but he gets them 
from his schoolfellows, or his masters, or his parents, as 
the case may be. Such as he is in his other relations, 
such also is he in his school exercises ; his mind is obser- 
vant, sharp, ready, retentive ; he is almost passive in the 
acquisition of knowledge. I say this in no disparage- 
ment of the idea of a clever boy. Geography, chronology, 
history, language, natural history, he heaps up the matter 
of these studies as treasures for a future day. It is the 
seven years of plenty with him : he gathers in by hand- 
fuls, like the Egyptians, without counting ; and though, 
as time goes on, there is exercise for his argumentative 
powers in the Elements of Mathematics, and for his 
taste in the Poets and Orators, still, while at school, or 
at least, till quite the last years of his time, he acquires, 
and little more ; and when he is leaving for the Univer- 
sity, he is mainly the creature of foreign influences and 
circumstances, and made up of accidents, homogeneous 
or not, as the case may be. Moreover, the moral habits, 
which are a boy's praise, encourage and assist this 
result ; that is, diligence, assidu'ty, regularity, despatch, 
perseveringapplication ; for these are the direct conditions 
of acquisition, and naturally lead to it. Acquirements, 
again, are emphatically producible, and at a moment ; 
they are a something to show, both for master and 
scholar ; an audience, even though ignorant themselves 
of the subjects of an examination, can comprehend 
when questions are answered and when they are not. 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to L.earning. 129 

Here again is a reason why mental culture is in the minds 
of men identified with the acquisition of knowledge. 

The same notion possesses the public mind, when it 
passes on from the thought of a school to that of a 
University : and with the best of reasons so far as this, 
that there is no true culture without acquirements, and 
that philosophy presupposes knowledge. It requires a 
great deal of reading, or a wide range of information, to 
warrant us in putting forth our opinions on any serious 
subject ; and without such learning the most original 
mind may be able indeed to dazzle, to amuse, to 
refute, to perplex, but not to come to any useful result 
or any trustworthy conclusion. There are indeed persons 
who profess a different view of the matter, and even 
act upon it. Every now and then you will find a 
person of vigorous or fertile mind, who relies upon his 
own resources, despises all former authors, and gives the 
world, with the utmost fearlessness, his views upon 
religion, or history, or any other popular subject. And 
his works may sell for a while ; he may get a name in 
his day; but this will be all. His readers are sure to 
find on the long run that his doctrines are mere theories, 
and not the expression of facts, that they are chaff in- 
stead of bread, and then his populantj- drops as suddenly 
as it rose. 

Knowledge then is the indispensable condition of 
expansion of mind, and the instrument of attaining to it ; 
this cannot be denied, it is ever to be insisted on ; I 
begin with it as a first principle ; however, the very truth 
of it carries men too far, and confirms to them the notion 
that it is the whole of the matter, A narrow mind is 
thought to be that which contains little knowledge ; and 
an enlarged mind, that which holds a great deal ; and 
what seems to put the matter beyond dispute is, tlic 
7- 9 

130 Discourse VI. 

fact of the great number of studies which are pursued 
in a University, by its very profession. Lectures are 
given on every kind of subject; examinations are held; 
prizes awarded. There are moral, metaphysical, phy- 
sical Professors ; Professors of languages, of history, 
of mathematics, of experimental science. Lists of ques- 
tions are published, wonderful for their range and 
depth, variety and difficulty ; treatises are written, which 
carry upon their very face the evidence of extensive 
reading or multifarious information; what then is want- 
ing for mental culture to a person of large reading and 
scientific attainments? what is grasp of mind but ac- 
quirement.'' where shall philosophical repose be found, 
but in the consciousness and enjoyment of large intel- 
lectual possessions .'' 

And yet this notion is, I conceive, a mistake, and my 
present business is to show that it is one, and that the end 
of a Liberal Education is not mere knowledge, or know- 
ledge considered in its matter ; and I shall best attain my 
object, by actually setting down some cases, which will 
be generally granted to be instances of the process of 
enlightenment or enlargement of mind, and others which 
are not, and thus, by the comparison, you will be able 
to judge for yourselves. Gentlemen, whether Knowledge, 
that is, acquirement, is after all the real principle of the 
enlargement, or whether that principle is not rather 
something beyond it. 


For instance,* let a person, whose experience has 
hitherto been confined to the more calm and unpretend- 

* The pages which follow are taken almost vei-latim from the author's 
14th (Oxford) University Sermon, which, at the time of writing this 
Discourse, he did not expect ever to reprint. 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 1 3 1 

ing scenery of these islands, whether here or in England, 
go for the first time into parts where physical nature 
puts on her wilder and more awful forms, whether at 
home or abroad, as into mountainous districts ; or let one. 
who has ever lived in a quiet village, go for the first 
time to a great metropolis, — then I suppose he will have 
a sensation which perhaps he never had before. He has 
a feeling not in addition or increase of former feelings, 
but of something different in its nature. He will perhaps 
be borne forward, and find for a time that he has lost his 
bearings. He has made a certain progress, and he has 
a consciousness of mental enlargement ; he does not 
stand where he did, he has a new centre, and a range of 
thoughts to which he was before a stranger. 

Again, the view of the heavens which the telescope 
opens upon us, if allowed to fill and possess the mind, 
may almost whirl it round and make it dizzy. It brings 
in a flood of ideas, and is rightly called an intellectual 
enlargement, whatever is meant by the term. 

And so again, the sight of beasts of prey and other 
foreign animals, their strangeness, the originality (if I 
may use the term) of their forms and gestures and habits 
and their variety and independence of each other, throw 
us out of ourselves into another creation, and as if under 
another Creator, if I may so express the temptation 
which may come on the mind. We seem to have new 
faculties, or a new exercise for our faculties, by this 
addition to our knowledge ; like a prisoner, who, having 
been accustomed to wear manacles or fetters, suddenly 
finds his arms and legs free. 

Hence Physical Science generally, in all its depart- 
ments, as bringing before us the exuberant riches and 
resources, yet the orderly course, of the Universe, elevates 
and excites the student, and at first, I may say, almost 

132 Discourse VI. 

takes away his breath, while in time it exercises a 
tranquilizing influence upon him. 

Again, the study of history is said to enlarge and 
enlighten the mind, and why ? because, as I conceive, it 
gives it a power of judging of passing events, and of all 
events, and a conscious superiority over them, which 
before it did not possess. 

And in like manner, what is called seeing the world, 
entering into active life, going into society, travelling, 
gaining acquaintance with the various classes of the 
community, coming into contact with the principles and 
modes of thought of various parties, interests, and races, 
their views, aims, habits and manners, their religious 
creeds and forms of worship, — gaining experience how 
various yet how alike men are, how low-minded, how 
bad, how opposed, yet how confident in their opinions ; 
all this exerts a perceptible influence upon the mind, 
which it is impossible to mistake, be it good or be it 
bad, and is popularly called its enlargement. 

And then again, the first time the mind comes across 
the arguments and speculations of unbelievers, and feels 
what a novel light they cast upon what he has hitherto 
accounted sacred ; and still more, if it gives in to them 
and embraces them, and throws off" as so much prejudice 
what it has hitherto held, and, as if waking from a 
dream, begins to realize to its imagination that there is 
now no such thing as law and the transgression of law, 
that sin is a phantom, and punishment a bugbear, that it 
is free to sin, free to enjoy the world and the flesh ; and 
still further, when it does enjoy them, and reflects that 
it may think and hold just what it will, that " the world 
is all before it where to choose," and what system to 
build up as its own private persuasion ; when this torrent 
of wilful thoughts rushes over and inundates it, who will 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 133 

deny that the fruit of the tree of knowledge, or what the 
mind takes for knowledge, has made it one of the gods, 
with a sense of expansion and elevation, — an intoxication 
in reality, still, so far as the subjective state of the mind 
goes, an illumination ? Hence the fanaticism of individuals 
or nations, who suddenly cast off their Maker. Their eyes 
are opened ; and, like the judgment-stricken king in the 
Tragedy, they see two suns, and a magic universe, out of 
which they look back upon their former state of faith and 
innocence with a sort of contempt and indignation, as if 
they were then but fools, and the dupes of imposture. 

On the other hand, Religion has its own enlargement, 
and an enlargement, not of tumult, but of peace. It is 
often remarked of uneducated persons, who have hitherto 
thought little of the unseen world, that, on their turning 
to God, looking into themselves, regulating their hearts, 
reforming their conduct, and meditating on death and 
judgment, heaven and hell, they seem to become, in 
point of intellect, different beings from what they were. 
Before, they took things as they came, and thought no 
more of one thing than another. But now every event 
has a meaning; they have their own estimate of whatever 
happens to them ; they are mindful of times and seasons, 
and compare the present with the past ; and the world, 
no longer dull, monotonous, unprofitable, and hopeless, 
is a various and complicated drama, with parts and an 
object, and an awful moral. 

Now from these instances, to which many more might 
be added, it is plain, first, that the communication of 
knowledge certainly is either a condition or the means 
of that sense of enlargement or enlightenment, of which 
at this day we hear so much in certain quarters : this 

134 Discourse VI. 

cannot be denied ; but next, it is equally plain, that such 
communication is not the whole of the process. The 
enlargement consists, not merely in the passive reception 
into the mind of a number of ideas hitherto unknown to 
it, but in the mind's energetic and simultaneous action 
upon and towards and among those new ideas, which are 
rushing in upon it. It is the action of a formative power, 
reducing to order and meaning the matter of our acquire- 
ments ; it is a making the objects of our knowledge 
subjectively our own, or, to use a familiar word, it is a 
digestion of what we receive, into the substance of our 
previous state of thought ; and without this no enlarge- 
ment is said to follow. There is no enlargement, unless 
there be a comparison of ideas one with another, as they 
come before the mind, and a systematizing of them. 
We feel our minds to be growing and expanding the?i, 
when we not only learn, but refer what we learn to what 
we know already. It is not the mere addition to our 
knowledge that is the illumination ; but the locomotion, 
the movement onwards, of that mental centre, to which 
both what we know, and what we are learning, the ac- 
cumulating mass of our acquirements, gravitates. And 
therefore a truly great intellect, and recognized to be 
such by the common opinion of mankind, such as the 
intellect of Aristotle, or of St. Thomas, or of Newton, or 
of Goethe, (I purposely take instances within and with- 
out the Catholic pale, when I would speak of the intellect 
as such,) is one which takes a connected view of old and 
new, past and present, far and near, and which has an 
insight into the influence of all these one on another; 
without which there is no whole, and no centre. It 
possesses the knowledge, not only of things, but also of 
their mutual and true relations ; knowledge, not merely 
considered as acquirement, but as philosophy. 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 135 

Accordingly, when this analytical, distributive, har- 
monizing process is away, the mind experiences no 
enlargement, and is not reckoned as enlightened or 
comprehensive, whatever it may add to its knowledge. 
For instance, a great memory, as I have already said, 
does not make a philosopher, any more than a dictionary 
can be called a grammar. There are men who embrace 
in their minds a vast multitude of ideas, but with little 
sensibility about their real relations towards each other. 
These may be antiquarians, annalists, naturalists ; they 
may be learned in the law; they may be versed in 
statistics ; they are most useful in their own place ; I 
should shrink from speaking disrespectfully of them ; 
still, there is nothing in such attainments to guarantee 
the absence of narrowness of mind. If they are nothing- 
more than well-read men, or men of information, they 
have not what specially deserves the name of culture of 
mind, or fulfils the type of Liberal Education. 

In like manner, we sometimes fall in with persons who 
have seen much of the world, and of the men who, in 
their day, have played a conspicuous part in it, but who 
generalize nothing, and have no observation, in the true 
sense of the word. They abound in information in 
detail, curious and entertaining, about men and things ; 
and, having lived under the influence of no very clear or 
settled principles, religious or political, they speak of 
every one and every thing, only as so many phenomena, 
which are complete in themselves, and lead to nothing, 
not discussing them, or teaching any truth, or instructing 
the hearer, but simply talking. No one would say that 
these persons, well informed as they are, had attained to 
any great culture of intellect or to philosi;phy. 

The case is the same still more strikingly where the 
persons in question are beyond dispute men of inferior 

^36 Discourse VI. 

powers and deficient education. Perhaps they have 
been much in foreign countries, and they receive, in a 
passive, otiose, unfruitful way, the various facts which are 
forced upon them there. Seafaring men, for example, 
range from one end of the earth to the other ; but the 
multiplicity of external objects, which they have encoun- 
tered, forms no symmetrical and consistent picture upon 
their imagination ; they see the tapestry of human life, 
as it were on the wrong side, and it tells no story. They 
sleep, and they rise up, and they find themselves, now in 
Europe, now in Asia ; they see visions of great cities and 
wild regions; they are in the marts of commerce, or amid 
the islands of the South ; they gaze on Pompey's Pillar, 
or on the Andes; and nothing which meets them carries 
them forward or backward, to any idea beyond itself 
Nothing has a drift or relation ; nothing has a history or 
a promise. Every thing stands by itself, and comes and 
goes in its turn, like the shifting scenes of a show, which 
leave the spectator where he was. Perhaps you are near 
such a man on a particular occasion, and expect him to 
be shocked or perplexed at something which occurs ; 
but one thing is much the same to him as another, or, if 
he is perplexed, it is as not knowing what to say, whether 
it is right to admire, or to ridicule, or to disapprove, 
while conscious that some expression of opinion is ex- 
pected from him ; for in fact he has no standard of judg- 
ment at all, and no landmarks to guide him to a conclu- 
sion. Such is mere acquisition, and, I repeat, no one 
would dream of calling it philosophy. 


Instances, such as these, confirm, by the contrast, the 
conclusion I have already drawn from those which pre- 
ceded them. That only is true enlargement of mind 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 137 


which is the power of viewing many things at once as 
one whole, of referring them severally to their true place 
in the universal system, of understanding their respective 
values, and determining their mutual dependence. Thus 
is that form of Universal Knowledge, of which I have on 
a former occasion spoken, set up in the individual intel- 
lect, and constitutes its perfection. Possessed of this 
real illumination, the mind never views any part of the 
extended subject-matter of Knowledge without recol- 
lecting that it is but a part, or without the associations 
which spring from this recollection. It makes every 
thing in some sort lead to every thing else ; it would 
communicate the image of the whole to every separate 
portion, till that whole becomes in imagination like a 
spirit, every where pervading and penetrating its com- 
ponent parts, and giving them one definite meaning. 
Just as our bodily organs, when mentioned, recall their 
function in the body, as the word " creation " suggests 
the Creator, and " subjects" a sovereign, so, in the mind 
of the Philosopher, as we are abstractedly conceiving of 
him, the elements of the physical and moral world, 
sciences, arts, pursuits, ranks, offices, events, opinions, 
individualities, are all viewed as one, with correlative 
functions, and as gradually by successive combinations 
converging, one and all, to the true centre. 

To have even a portion of this illuminative reason and 
true philosophy is the highest state to which nature can 
aspire, in the way of intellect ; it puts the mind above 
the influences of chance and necessity, above anxiety, 
suspense, unsettlement, and superstition, which is the lot 
of the many. Men, whose minds are possessed with 
some one object, take exaggerated views of its impor- 
tance, are feverish in the pursuit of it, make it the 
measure of things which are utterly foreign to it, and 

138 Discourse VI. 

are startled and despond if it happens to fail them. 
They are ever in alarm or in transport. Those on the 
other hand who have no object or principle whatever to 
hold by, lose their way, every step they take. They are 
thrown out, and do not know what to think or .say, at 
every fresh juncture; they have no view of persons, or 
occurrences, or facts, which come suddenly upon them, 
and they hang upon the opinion of others, for want of 
internal resources. But the intellect, which has been 
disciplined to the perfection of its powers, which knows, 
and thinks while it knows, which has learned to leaven 
the dense mass of facts and events with the elastic force 
of reason, such an intellect cannot be partial, cannot be 
exclusive, cannot be impetuous, cannot be at a loss, cannot 
but be patient, collected, and majestically calm, because it 
discerns the end in every beginning, the origin in every 
end, the law in every interruption, the limit in each delay ; 
because it ever knows where it stands, and how its path lies 
from one point to another. It is the rfr/oaywvoc of the 
Peripatetic, and has the " nil admirari " of the Sloic, — 

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, 
Atque metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum 
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari. 

There are men who, when in difficulties, originate at the 
moment vast ideas or dazzling projects ; who, under the 
influence of excitement, are able to cast a light, almost 
as if from inspiration, on a subject or course of action 
which comes before them ; who have a sudden presence 
of mind equal to any emergency, ris'ng with the occasion, 
and an undaunted magnanimous bearing, and an energy 
and keenness which is but made intense by opposition. 
This is genius, this is heroism ; it is the exhibition of a 
natural gift, which no culture can teach, at which no 

Knowledge virdoed in Relation to Learning. 139 

Institution can aim ; here, on the contrary, we are con- 
cerned, not with mere nature, but with training and 
teaching. That perfection of the Intellect, which is the 
result of Education, and its beau ideal, to be imparted 
to individuals in their respective measures, is the clear, 
calm, accurate vision and comprehension of all things, 
as far as the finite mind can embrace them, each in its 
place, and with its own characteristics upon it. It is 
almost prophetic from its knowledge of history ; it is 
almost heart-searching from its knowledge of human 
nature ; it has almost supernatural charity from its 
freedom from littleness and prejudice ; it has almost the 
repose of faith, because nothing can startle it ; it has 
almost the beauty and harmony of heavenly contem- 
plation, so intimate is it with the eternal order of things 
and the music of the spheres. 


And now, if I may take for granted that the true and 
adequate end of intellectual training and of a University 
is not Learning or Acquirement, but rather, is Thought 
or Reason exercised upon Knowledge, or what may be 
called Philosophy, I shall be in a position to explain the 
various mistakes which at the present day beset the 
subject of University Education. 

I say then, if we would improve the intellect, first of 
all, we must ascend ; we cannot gain real knowledge on 
a level ; we must generalize, we must reduce to method, 
we must have a grasp of principles, and group and shape 
our acquisitions by means of them. It matters not 
whether our field of operation be wide or limited ; in 
every case, to command it, is to mount above it. Wlio 
has not felt the irritation of mind and impatience 
created by a deep, rich country, visited for the first time. 

140 Discourse VL 

with winding lanes, and high hedges, and green steeps, 
and tangled woods, and every thing smiling indeed, but 
in a maze ? The same feeling comes upon us in a strange 
city, when we have no map of its streets. Hence you 
hear of practised travellers, when they first come into a 
place, mounting some high hill or church tower, by way 
of reconnoitring its neighbourhood. In like manner, you 
must be above your knowledge, not under it, or it will 
oppress you ; and the more you have of it, the greater 
will be the load. The learning of a Salmasius or a 
Burman, unless you are its master, will be your tyrant. 
" Imperat aut servit ; " if you can wield it with a strong 
arm., it is a great weapon ; otherwise, 

Vis consili expers 
Mole ruit sua. 

You will be overwhelmed, like Tarpeia, by the heavy 
wealth which you have exacted from tributary 

Instances abound ; there are authors who are as 
pointless as they are inexhaustibl'e in their literary 
resources. They measure knowledge by bulk, as it lies 
in the rude block, without symmetry, without design. 
How many commentators are there on the Classics, how 
many on Holy Scripture, from whom we rise up, won- 
dering at the learning which has passed before us, and 
wondering why it passed ! How many writers are there 
of Ecclesiastical History, such as Mosheim or Du Pin, 
who, breaking up their subject into details, destroy its 
life, and defraud us of the whole by their anxiety about 
the parts ! The Sermons, again, of the English Divines 
i.i the seventeenth century, how often are they mere 
repertories of miscellaneous and officious learning ! Of 
course Catholics also may read without thinking ; and 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Lea^^ning. 141 

in their case, equally as with Protestants, it holds good, 
that such knowledge is unworthy of the name, knowledge 
which they have not thought through, and thought out. 
Such readers are only possessed by their knowledge, not 
possessed of it ; nay, in matter of fact they are often 
even carried away by it, without any volition of their 
own. Recollect, the Memory can tyrannize, as well as 
the Imagination. Derangement, I believe, has been 
considered as a loss of control over the sequence of 
ideas. The mind, once set in motion, is henceforth 
deprived of the power of initiation, and becomes the 
victim of a train of associations, one thought suggesting 
another, in the way of cause and effect, as if by a 
mechanical process, or some physical necessity. No 
one, who has had experience of men of studious habits, 
but must recognize the existence of a parallel phe- 
nomenon in the case of those who have over-stimulated 
the Memory. In such persons Reason acts almost as 
feebly and as impotently as in the madman ; once fairly 
started on any subject whatever, they have no power of 
self-control ; they passively endure the succession of 
impulses which are evolved out of the original exciting 
cause ; they are passed on from one idea to another and 
go steadily forward, plodding along one line of thought 
in spite of the amplest concessions of the hearer, or wan- 
dering from it in endless digression in spite of his remon- 
strances. Now, if, as is very certain, no one would envy the 
madman the glow and originality of his conceptions, why 
must we extol the cultivation of that intellect, which is 
the prey, not indeed of barren fancies but of barren facts, 
of random intrusions from without, though not of morbid 
imaginations from within } And in thus speaking, I am 
not denying that a strong and ready memory is in itself 
a real treasure; I am not disparaging a well-stored 

142 Discourse VI. 

mind, though it be nothing besides, provided it be sober,' 
any more than I would despise a bookseller's shop : — it 
is of great value to others, even when not so to the 
owner. Nor am I banishing, far from it, the possessors 
of deep and multifarious learning from my ideal 
University ; they adorn it in the eyes of men ; 1 do but 
say that they constitute no type of the results at which 
it aims ; that it is no great gain to the intellect to have 
enlarged the memory at the expense of faculties which 
are indisputably higher. 


Nor indeed am I supposing that there is any great 
danger, at least in this day, of over-education; the danger 
is on the other side. I will tell you, Gentlemen, what has 
been the practical error of the last twenty years, — not to 
load the memory of the student with a mass of undigested 
knowledge, but to force upon him so much that he has 
rejected all. It has been the error of distracting and 
enfeebling the mind by an unmeaning profusion of 
subjects ; of implying that a smattering in a dozen 
branches of study is not shallowness, which it really is, 
but enlargement, which it is not ; of considering an ac- 
quaintance with the learned names of things and persons, 
and the possession of clever duodecimos, and attendance 
on eloquent lecturers, and membership with scientific in- 
stitutions, and the sight of the experiments of a platform 
and the specimens of a museum, that all this was not 
dissipation of mind, but progress. All things now are to 
be learned at once, not first one thing, then another, not 
one well, but many badly. Learning is to be without 
exertion, without attention, without toil ; without ground- 
ing, without advance, without finishing. There is to be 
nothing individual in it ; and this, forsooth, is the wonder 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 143 

of the age. What the steam engine does with matter, 
the printing press is to do with mind ; it is to act 
mechanically, and the population is to be passively, almost 
unconsciously enlightened, by the mere multiplication 
and dissemination of volumes. Whether it be the 
school boy, or the school girl, or the youth at college, 
or the mechanic in the town, or the politician in the 
senate, all have been the victims in one way or other of 
this most preposterous and pernicious of delusions. 
Wise men have lifted up their voices in vain; and at 
length, lest their own institutions should be outshone 
and should disappear in the folly of the hour, they have 
been obliged, as far as they could with a good conscience, 
to humour a spirit which they could not withstand, and 
make temporizing concessions at which they could not 
but inwardly smile. 

It must not be supposed* that, because I so speak, 
therefore I have some sort of fear of the education of the 
people : on the contrary, the more education they have, 
the better, so that it is really education. Nor am I an 
enemy to the cheap publication of scientific and Hterary 
works, which is now in vogue: on the contrary, I consider 
it a great advantage, convenience, and gain ; that is, to 
those to whom education has given a capacity for using 
them. Further, I consider such innocent recreations as 
science and literature are able to furnish will be a very 
fit occupation of the thoughts and the leisure of young 
persons, and may be made the means of keeping them 
from bad employments and bad companions. Moreover, 
as to that superficial acquaintance with chemistry, and 
geology, and astronomy, and political economy, and 
modern history, and biography, and other branches of 
knowledge, which periodical literature and occasional 
lectures and scientific institutions diffuse through the 

144 Discourse VI. 

community, I think it a graceful accomplishment, and 
a suitable, nay, in this day a necessary accomplishment, 
in the 'case of educated men. Nor, lastly, am I dis- 
paraging or discouraging the thorough acquisition of 
any one of these studies, or denying that, as far as it 
goes, such thorough acquisition is a real education of 
the mind. All I say is, call things by their right names, 
and do not confuse together ideas which are essentially 
different. A thorough knowledge of one science and a 
superficial acquaintance with many, are not the same 
thing ; a smattering of a hundred things or a memory 
for detail, is not a philosophical or comprehensive view. 
Recreations are not education ; accomplishments are 
not education. Do not say, the people must be edu- 
cated, when, after all, you only mean, amused, refreshed, 
soothed, put into good spirits and good humour, or kept 
from vicious excesses. I do not say that such amuse- 
ments, such occupations of mind, are not a great gain ; 
but they are not education. You may as well call draw- 
ing and fencing education, as a general knowledge of 
botany or conchology. Stuffing birds or playing stringed 
instruments is an elegant pastime, and a resource to the 
idle, but it is not education ; it does not form or cultivate 
the intellect. Education is a high word ; it is the prepara- 
tion for knowledge, and it is the imparting of knowledge 
in proportion to that preparation. We require intellec- 
tual eyes to know withal, as bodily eyes for sight. We 
need both objects and organs intellectual ; we cannot 
gain them without setting about it ; we cannot gain 
them in our sleep, or by hap-hazard. The best telescope 
does not dispense with eyes ; the printing press or the 
lecture room will assist us greatly, but we must be true 
to ourselves, we must be parties in the work. A Uni- 
versity is, according to the usual designation, an Alma 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 145 

Mater, knowing her children one by one, not a foundry 
cr a mint, or a treadmill. 


I protest to you, Gentlemen, that if I had to choose 
between a so-called University, which dispensed with 
residence and tutorial superintendence, and gave its 
degrees to any person who passed an examination in a 
wide range of subjects, and a University which had no 
professors or examinations at all, but merely brought a 
number of young men together for three or four years, 
and then sent them away as the University of Oxford is 
said to have done some sixty years since, if I were asked 
which of these two methods was the better discipline of 
the intellect, — mind, I do not say which is morally the 
better, for it is plain that compulsory study must be a 
good and idleness an intolerable mischief, — but if 1 
must determine which of the two courses was the more 
successful in training, moulding, enlarging the mind, 
which sent out men the more fitted for their secular 
duties, which produced better public men, men of the 
world, men whose names would descend to posterity, I 
have no hesitation in giving the preference to that Uni- 
versity which did nothing, over that which exacted of its 
members an acquaintance with every science under the 
sun. And, paradox as this may seem, still if results be 
the test of systems, the influence of the public schools 
and colleges of England, in the course of the last century, 
at least will bear out one side of the contrast as I have 
drawn it. What would come, on the other hand, of the 
ideal systems of education which have fascinated the 
imagination of this age, could they ever take effect, and 
whether they would not produce a generation frivolous, 
narrow-minded, and resourceless, intellectually con sidered, 
7* 10 

146 Discourse VI, 

is a fair subject for debate ; but so far is certain, that the 
Universities and scholastic establishments, to which I 
refer, and which did little more than bring together first 
boys and then youths in large numbers, these institutions, 
with miserable deformities on the side of morals, with a 
hollow profession of Christianity, and a heathen code 
of ethics, — I say, at least they can boast of a succession 
of heroes and statesmen, of literary men and philosophers, 
of men conspicuous for great natural virtues, for habits 
of business, for knowledge of life, for practical judgment, 
for cultivated tastes, for accomplishments, who have 
made England what it is, — able to subdue the earth, 
able to domineer over Catholics. 

How is this to be explained ? I suppose as follows : 
When a multitude of young men, keen, open-hearted, 
sympathetic, and observant, as young men are, come 
together and freely mix with each other, they are sure 
to learn one from another, even if there be no one to 
teach them ; the conversation of all is a series of lectures 
to each, and they gain for themselves new ideas and 
views, fresh matter of thought, and distinct principles 
for judging and acting, day by day. An infant has to 
learn the meaning of the information which its senses 
convey to it, and this seems to be its employment. It 
fancies all that the eye presents to it to be close to it, 
till it actually learns the contrary, and thus by practice 
does it ascertain the relations and uses of those first 
elements of knowledge which are necessary for its 
animal existence. A parallel teaching is necessary for 
our social being, and it is secured by a large school or a 
college ; and this effect may be fairly called in its own 
department an enlargement of mind. It is seeing the 
world on a small field with little trouble; for the 
pupils or students come from very different places, and 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 147 

with widely different notions, and there is much to 
generalize, much to adjust, much to ehminate, there are 
inter-relations to be defined, and conventional rules to 
be established, in the process, by which the whole 
assemblage is moulded together, and gains one tone and 
one character. 

Let it be clearly understood, I repeat it, that [ am not 
taking into account moral or religious considerations ; I 
am but saying that that youthful community will con- 
stitute a whole, it will embody a specific idea, it will 
represent a doctrine, it will administer a code of conduct, 
and it will furnish principles of thought and action. It 
will give birth to a living teaching, which in course of 
time will take the shape of a self-perpetuating tradition, 
or a genius toci, as it is sometimes called ; which haunts 
the home where it has been born, and which imbues and 
forms, m.ore or less, and one by one, every individual 
who is successively brought under its shadow. Thus it 
is that, independent of direct instruction on the part of 
Superiors, there is a sort of self-education in the academic 
institutions of Protestant England ; a characteristic tone 
of thought, a recognized standard of judgment is found 
in them, which, as developed in the individual who is 
submitted to it, becomes a twofold source oi strength to 
him, both from the distinct stamp it impresses on his 
mind, and from the bond ot union which it creates 
betv.een him and others, — effects which are shared by 
the authorities of the place, for they themselves have 
been educated in it, and at all times are exposed to the 
influence of its ethical atmosphere. Here then is a real 
teaching, whatever be its standards and principles, true 
or false ; and it at least tends towards cultivation of the 
intellect ; it at least recognizes that knowledge is some- 
thing more than a sort of passive reception of scraps and 

148 Discourse VL 

details ; it is a something, and it does a something, which 
never will issue from the most strenuous efforts of a set 
of teachers, with no mutual sympathies and no inter- 
communion, of a set of examiners with no opinions which 
they dare profess, and with no common principles, who 
are teaching or questioning a set of youths who do not 
know them, and do not know each other, on a large 
number of subjects, different in kind, and connected by 
no wide philosophy, three' times a week, or three times a 
year, or once in three years, in chill lecture-rooms or on 
a pompous anniversary. 


Nay, self-education in any shape, in the most restricted 
sense, is preferable to a system of teaching which, pro- 
fessing so much, really does so little for the mind. Shut 
your College gates against the votary of knowledge, 
throw him back upon the searchings and the efforts of 
his own mind ; he will gain by being spared an entrance 
into your Babel. Few indeed there are who can dis- 
pense with the stinmlus and support of instructors, or 
will do anything at all, if left to themselves. And fewer 
still (though such great minds are to be found), who 
will not, from such unassisted attempts, contract a self- 
reliance and a self-esteem, which are not only moral 
evils, but serious hindrances to the attainment of truth. 
And next to none, perhaps, or none, who will not be 
reminded from time to time of the disadvantage 
under which they lie, by their imperfect grounding, by 
the breaks, deficiencies, and irregularities of their know- 
ledge, by the eccentricity of opinion and the confusion 
of principle which they exhibit. They will be too often 
ignorant of what every one knows and takes for granted, 
of that multitude of small truths which fall upon the 

Knowledge viewed in Relation to Learning. 149 

mind like dust, impalpable and ever accumulating ; they 
may be unable to converse, they may argue perversely, 
they may pride themselves on their worst paradoxes or 
their grossest truisms, they may be full of their own 
mode of viewing things, unwilling to be put out of their 
way, slow to enter into the minds of others ; — but, with 
these and whatever other liabilities upon their heads, 
they are likely to have more thought, more mind, more 
philosophy, more true enlargement, than those earnest 
but ill-used persons, who are forced to load their minds 
with a score of subjects against an examination, who 
have too much on their hands to indulge themselves in 
thinking or investigation, who devour premiss and con- 
clusion together with indiscriminate greediness, who 
hold whole sciences on faith, and commit demonstra- 
tions to memory, and who too often, as might be ex- 
pected, when their period of education is passed, throw 
up all they have learned in disgust, having gained 
nothing really by their anxious labours, except perhaps 
the habit of application. 

Yet such is the better specimen of the fruit of that 
ambitious system which has of late years been making 
way among us : for its result on ordinary minds, and on 
the common run of students, is less satisfactory still ; 
they leave their place of education simply dissipated 
and relaxed by the multiplicity of subjects, which they 
have never really mastered, and so shallow as not even 
to know their shallowness. How much better, I say, is 
it for the active and thoughtful intellect, where such is 
to be found, to eschew the College and the University 
altogether, than to submit to a drudgery so ignoble, a 
mockery so contumelious ! How much more profitable 
for the independent mind, after the mere rudiments of 
education, to range through a library at random, taking 

150 Discourse VI . 

down books as they meet him, and pursuing the trains 
of thought which his mother wit suggests ! How much 
healthier to wander into the fields, and there with the 
exiled Prince to find " tongues in the trees, books in the 
running brooks ! " How much more genuine an educa- 
tion is that of the poor boy in the Poem* — a Poem, 
whether in conception or in execution, one of the most 
touching in our language — who, not in the wide world, 
but ranging day by day around his widowed mother's 
home, "a dexterous gleaner" in a narrow field, and 
with only such slender outfit 

•' as the village school and books a few 

contrived from the beach, and the quay, and the fisher's 
boat, and the inn's fireside, and the tradesman's shop, 
and the shepherd's walk, and the smuggler's hut, and 
the mossy moor, and the screaming gulls, and the rest- 
less waves, to fashion for himself a philosophy and a 
poetry of his own ! 

But in a large subject, I am exceeding my necessary 
limits. Gentlemen, I must conclude abruptly ; and 
postpone any summing up of my argument, should that 
be necessary, to another day. 

* Crabbe's Tales of the Hall. This Poem, let me say, I read on its 
first publication, above thirty years ago, with extreme delight, and have 
never lost my love of it ; and on taking it up lately, found I was even more 
touched by it than heretofore. A work which can please in youth and age, 
seems to fulfil (in logical language) the accidental definition of a Classic. 
[A further course of twenty years has past, and I bear the same witness ia 
favour of this Poem.] 





I HAVE been insisting, in my two preceding Dis- 
courses, first, on the cultivation of the intellect, as 
an end which may reasonably be pursued for its own 
sake ; and next, on the nature of that cultivation, or 
what that cultivation consists in. Truth of whatever 
kind is the proper object of the intellect; its cultivation 
then lies in fitting it to apprehend and contemplate 
truth. Now the intellect in its present state, with 
exceptions which need not here be specified, does not 
discern truth intuitively, or as a whole. We know, not 
by a direct and simple vision, not at a glance, but, as it 
were, by piecemeal and accumulation, by a mental pro- 
cess, by going round an object, by the comparison, the 
combination, the mutual correction, the continual adap- 
tation, of many partial notions, by the employment, 
concentration, and joint action of many faculties and 
exercises of mind. Such a union and concert of the 
intellectual powers, such an enlargement and develop- 
ment, such a comprehensiveness, is necessarily a matter 
of training. And again, such a training is a matter of 
rule ; it is not mere application, however exemplary, 
which introduces the mind to truth, nor the reading 

152 Diicottrse VII. 

many books, nor the getting up many subjects, nor the 
witnessing many experiments, nor the attending many 
lectures. All this is short of enough ; a man may have 
done it all, yet be lingering in the vestibule of know- 
ledge : — he may not realize what his mouth utters ; he 
may not see with his mental eye what confronts him; he 
may have no grasp of things as they are ; or at least he 
may have no power at all of advancing one step forward 
of himself, in consequence of what he has already ac- 
quired, no power of discriminating between truth and 
falsehood, of sifting out the grains of truth from the 
mass, of arranging things according to their real value, 
and, if I may use the phrase, of building up ideas. 
Such a power is the result of a scientific formation of 
mind ; it is an acquired faculty of judgment, of clear- 
sightedness, of sagacity, of wisdom, of philosophical 
reach of mind, and of intellectual self-possession and 
repose, — qualities which do not come of mere acquire- 
ment. The bodily eye, the organ for apprehending 
material objects, is provided by nature ; the eye of the 
mind, of which the object is truth, is the work of dis- 
cipline and habit. 

This process of training, by which the intellect, 
instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular 
or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, 
or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake, for 
the perception of its own proper object, and for its own 
highest culture, is called Liberal Education ; and though 
there is no one in whom it is carried as far as is con- 
ceivable, or wh se intellect would be a pattern of what 
intellects should be made, yet there is scarcely any one 
but may gain an idea of what real training is, and at 
least look towards it, and make its true scope and 
result, not something else, his standard of excellence ; 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 153 

and numbers there are who may submit themselves to it, 
and secure it to themselves in good measure. And to 
set forth the right standard, and to train according to it, 
and to help forward all students towards it according to 
their various capacities, this I conceive to be the business 
of a University. 


Now this is what some great men are very slow to 
allow; they insist that Education should be confined to 
some particular and narrow end, and should issue in 
some definite work, which can be weighed and measured. 
They argue as if every thing, as well as every person, 
had its price ; and that where there has been a great 
outlay, they have a right to expect a return in kind. 
This they call making Education and Instruction 
"useful," and " Utility " becomes their watchword. 
With a fundamental principle of this nature, they very 
naturally go on to ask, what there is to show for the 
expense of a University ; what is the real worth in the 
market of the article called " a Liberal Education," on 
the supposition that it does not teach us definitely how 
to advance our manufactures, or to improve our lands, 
or to better our civil economy ; or again, if it does not 
at once make this man a lawyer, that an engineer, aid 
that a surgeon ; or at least if it does not lead to dis- 
coveries in chemistry, astronomy, geology, magnetism, 
and science of every kind. 

This question, as might have been expected, has been 
keenly debated in the present age, and formed one main 
subject of the controversy, to which I referred in the 
Introduction to the present Discourses, as having been 
sustained in the first decade of this century by a cele- 
brated Northern Review on the one hand, and defenders 

154 Discourse VII. 

of the University of Oxford on the other. Hardly had 
the authorities of that ancient seat of learning, waking 
from their long neglect, set on foot a plan for the edu- 
cation of the youth committed to them, than the repre- 
sentatives of science and literature in the city, which 
has sometimes been called the Northern Athens, remon- 
strated, with their gravest arguments and their most 
brilliant satire, against the direction and shape which 
the reform was taking. Nothing would content them, 
but that the University should be set to rights on the 
basis of the philosophy of Utility ; a philosophy, as 
they seem to have thought, which needed but to be pro- 
claimed in order to be embraced. In truth, they were 
little aware of the depth and force of the principles on 
which the academical authorities were proceeding, and, 
this being so, it was not to be expected that they would 
be allowed to walk at leisure over the field of contro- 
versy which they had selected. Accordingly they were 
encountered in behalf of the University by two men of 
great name and influence in their day, of very different 
minds, but united, as by Collegiate ties, so in the clear- 
sighted and large view which they took of the whole 
subject of Liberal Education ; and the defence thus 
provided for the Oxford studies has kept its ground to 
this day. 

Let me be allowed to devote a few words to the 
memory of distinguished persons, under the shadow of 
whose name I once lived, and by whose doctrine I am now 
profiting. In the heart of Oxford there is a small plot 
of ground, hemmed in by public thoroughfares, which has 
been the possession and the home of one Society for 
above five hundred years. In the old time of Boniface 
the Eighth and John the Twenty-second, in the age of 

K?iowkcige and Professional Skill. J 55 

Scotus and Occam and Dante, before Wiclif or Huss had 
kindled those miserable fires which are still raging to the 
ruin of the highest interests of man, an unfortunate king 
of England, Edward the Second, flying from the field of 
Bannockburn, is said to have made a vow to the Blessed 
Virgin to found a religious house in her honour, if he 
got back in safety. Prompted and aided by his 
Almoner, he decided on placing this house in the city 
of Alfred ; and the Image of our Lady, which is oppo- 
site its entrance-gate, is to this day the token of the 
vow and its fulfilment. King and Almoner have long 
been in the dust, and strangers have entered into their 
inheritance, and their creed has been forgotten, and 
tneir holy rites disowned ; but day by day a memento is 
still made in tiie holy Sacrifice by at least one Catholic 
Priest, once a member of that College, for the souls 
of those Catholic benefactors who fed him there for so 
many years. The visitor, whose curiosity has been 
excited by its present fame, gazes perhaps with some- 
thing of disappointment on a collection of buildings 
which have with them so few of the circumstances of 
dignity or wealth. Broad quadrangles, high halls and 
chambers, ornamented cloisters, stately walks, or um- 
brageous gardens, a throng of students, ample revenues, 
or a glorious history, none of these things were the 
portion of that old Catholic foundation ; nothing in 
short which to the common eye sixty years ago would 
have given tokens of what it was to be. But it had at 
that time a spirit working Within it, which enabled its 
inmates to do, amid its seeming insignificance, what no 
other body in the place could equal ; not a very abstruse 
gift or extraordinary boast, but a rare one, the honest 
purpose to administer the trust committed to them in 
such a way as their conscience pointed out as best. So, 

156 Discourse VII. 

whereas the Colleges of Oxford are self-electing bodies, 
the fellows in each perpetually filling up for themselves 
the vacancies which occur in their number, the members 
of this foundation determined, at a time when, either 
from evil custom or from ancient statute, such a thing 
was not known elsewhere, to throw open their fellow- 
ships to the competition of all comers, and, in the choice 
of associates henceforth, to cast to the winds every per- 
sonal motive and feeling, family connexion, and friend- 
ship, and patronage, and political interest, and local 
claim, and prejudice, and party jealousy, and to elect 
solely on public and patriotic grounds. Nay, with a 
remarkable independence of mind, they resolved that 
even the table of honours, awarded to literary merit by 
the University in its new system of examination for 
degrees, should not fetter their judgment as electors ; 
but that at all risks, and whatever criticism it might 
cause, and whatever odium they might incur, tiiey 
would select the men, whoever tliey were, to be children 
of the.. Founder, whom they thought in their consciences 
to be most likely from their intellectual and moral 
qualities to please him, if (as they expressed it) he were 
still upon earth, most likely to do honour to his College, 
most likely to promote the objects which they believed 
he had at heart. Such persons did not promise to be 
the disciples of a low Utilitarianism ; and consequently, 
as their collegiate reform synchronized with that reform 
of the Academical body, in which they bore a principal 
part, it was not unnatural that, when the storm broke 
upon the University from the North, their Alma Mater, 
whom they loved, should have found her first defenders 
within the walls of that small College, which had first 
put itself into a condition to be her champion. 

These defenders, I have said, were two, of whom the 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 157 

more distinguished was the late Dr. Copleston, then a 
Fellow of the College, successively its Provost, and Pro- 
testant Bishop of Llandafif. In that Society, which owes 
so much to him, his name lives, and ever will live, for 
the distinction which his talents bestowed on it, for the 
academical importance to which he raised it, for the 
generosity of spirit, the liberality of sentiment, and the 
kindness of heart, with which he adorned it, and which 
even those who had least sympathy with some aspects 
of his mind and character could not but admire and 
love. Men come to their meridian at various periods of 
their lives ; the last years of the eminent person I am 
speaking of were given to duties which, I am told, have 
been the means of endearing him to numbers, but 
which afforded no scope for that peculiar vigour and 
keenness of mind which enabled him, when a young 
man, single-handed, with easy gallantry, to encounter 
and overthrow the charge of three giants of the North 
combined against him, I believe I am right in saying 
that, in the progress of the controversy, the most 
scientific, the most critical, and the most witty, of that 
literary company, all of them now, as he himself, re- 
moved from this visible scene. Professor Playfair, Lord 
Jeffrey, and the Rev. Sydney Smith, threw together 
their several efforts into one article of their Review, in 
order to crush and pound to dust the audacious contro- 
vertist who had come out against them in defence of 
his own Institutions. To have even contended with 
such men was a sufhcient voucher for his ability, even 
before we open his pamphlets, and have actual evidence 
of the good sense, the spirit, the scholar-like taste, and 
the purity of style, by which they are distinguished. 

He was supported in the controversy, on the same 
general principles, but with more of method and distinct- 

^5^ Discourse VI L 

ness, and, I will add, with greater force and beauty and 
perfection, both of thought and of language, by the other 
distinguished writer, to whom I have already referred, 
Mr. Davison ; who, though not so well known to the 
v/orld in his day, has left more behind him than the 
Provost of Oriel, to make his name remembered by pos- 
terity. This thoughtful man, who was the admired and 
intimate friend of a very remarkable person, whom, 
whether he wash it or not, numbers reve: e and love as 
the first author of the subsequent movement in the Pro- 
testant Church towards Catholicism,* this grave and 
philosophical writer, whose works I can never look into 
without sighing that such a man was lost to the Catholic 
Church, as Dr. Butler before him, by some early bias or 
some fault of self-education — he, in a review of a work 
by Mr. Edgeworth on Professional Education, which 
attracted a good deal of attention in its day, goes leisurely 
over the same ground, which had already been rapidly 
traversed by Dr. Copleston, and, though professedly em* 
ployed upon Mr. Edgeworth, is really replying to the 
northern critic who had brought that writers work into 
notice, and to a far greater author than either of them, 
who in a past age had argued on the same side, 

The author to whom I allude is no other than Locke. 
That celebrated philosopher has preceded the Edinburgh 
Reviewers in condemning the ordinary subjects in which 
boys are instructed at school, on the ground that they 
are not needed by them in after life ; and before quoting 
what his disciples have said in the present century, I 
will refer to a few passages of the master. " 'Tis matter 

* Mr. Keble, Vicar of Plursley, late Fellow of Oriel, and Professoi of 
Poetry in the Univereity of Oxford. 

K^iowledge and Professional Skill. 159 

of astonishment," he says in his work on Education, 
*• that men of quality and parts should suffer themselves 
to be so far misled by custom and implicit faith. Reason, 
if consulted with, would advise, that their children's time 
should be spent in acquiring what might be useful to 
them, when they come to be men, rather than that their 
heads should be stuffed with a deal of trash, a great part 
whereof they usually never do ('tis certain they never 
need to) think on again as long as they live ; and so 
much of it as does stick by them they are only the 
worse for." 

And so again, speaking of verse-making, he says, " I 
know not what reason a father can have to wish his son 
a poet, who does not desire him to bid defiance to all 
other callings and business ; which is not yet the worst 
of the case ; for, if he proves a successful rhymer, and 
gets once the reputation of a wit, 1 desire it to be con- 
sidered, what company and places he is likely to spend 
his time in, nay, and estate too ; for it is very seldom 
seen that any one discovers mines of gold or silver i> 
Parnassus. 'Tis a pleasant air, but a barren soil." 

In another passage he distinctly limits utility in edu- 
cation to its bearing on the future profession or trade of 
the pupil, that is, he scorns the idea of any education of 
the intellect, simply as such. " Can there be any thing 
more ridiculous," he asks, "than that a father should 
waste his own money, and his son's time, in setting him 
to learn the Roman language, when at the same time he 
designs him for a trade, wherein he, having no use of 
Latin, fails not to forget that little which he brought 
from school, and which 'tis ten to one he abhors for the 
ill-usage it procured him ? Could it be believed, unless 
we have every where amongst us examples of it, that a 
child should be forced to learn the rudiments of a 

i6o Discourse VI L 

language, which he is never to use in the course of life titat 
he is designed to, and neglect all the while the writing 
a good hand, and casting accounts, which are of great 
advantage in all conditions of life, and to most trades 
indispensably necessary ? " Nothing of course can be 
more absurd than to neglect in education those matters 
which are necessary for a boy's future calling ; but the 
tone of Locke's remarks evidently implies more than 
this, and is condemnatory of any teaching which tends 
to the general cultivation of the mind. 

Now to turn to his modern disciples. The study of 
the Classics had been made the basis of the Oxford 
education, in the reforms which I have spoken of, and 
the Edinburgh Reviewers protested, after the manner 
of Locke, that no good could come of a system which 
was not based upon the principle of Utility. 

" Classical Literature," they said, " is the great object 
at Oxford. Many minds, so employed, have produced 
many works and much fame in that department ; but if 
all liberal arts and sciences, useful to human life, had 
been taught there, if some had dedicated themselves to 
chemistry, some to mathematics, some to experimental 
philosophy, and if every attainment had been honoured in 
the mixt ratio of its difficulty and utility, the system of 
such a University would have been much more valuable, 
but the splendour of its name something less." 

Utility may be made the end of education, in two 
respects : either as regards the individual educated, or the 
community at large. In which light do these writers 
regard it 1 in the latter. So far they differ from Locke, 
for they consider the advancement of science as the 
supreme and real end of a University. This is brought 
into view in the sentences which follow. 

•' When a University has been doing useless things for 

Knowledge a7id Professional Skill. i6i 

a long time, it appears at first degrading to them to be 
useful. A set of Lectures on Political Economy would 
be discouraged in Oxford, probably despised, probably 
not permitted. To discuss the inclosure of commons, 
and to dwell upon imports and exports, to come so near 
to common life, would seem to be undignified and con- 
temptible. In the same manner, the Parr or the Bentley 
of the day would be scandalized, in a University, to be 
put on a level with the discoverer of a neutral salt ; and 
yet, what other measure is there of dignity in intellectual 
labour but usefulness ? And what ought tlie term 
University to mean, but a place where every science 
is taught which is liberal, and at the same time useful 
to mankind ? Nothing would so much tend to bring 
classical literature within proper bounds as a steady and 
invariable appeal to utility in our appreciation of all 
human knowledge .... Lookitig ahvays to real utility 
as our guide, we should see, with equal pleasure, a 
studious and inquisitive mind arranging the produc- 
tions of nature, investigating the qualities of bodies, or 
mastering the difficulties of the learned languages. We 
should not care whether he was chemist, naturalist, or 
scholar, because we know it to be as necessary that 
matter should be studied and subdued to the use of 
man, as that taste should be gratified, and imagination 

Such then is the enunciation, as far as words go, of the 
theory of Utility in Education ; and both on its own 
account, and for the sake of the able men who have 
advocated it, it has a claim on the attention of those 
whose principles I am here representing. Certainly it is 
specious to contend that nothing is worth pursuing but 
what is useful ; and that life is not long enough to ex- 
pend upon interesting, or curious, or brilliant trifles. 
7* II 

1 62 Discourse VI I. 

Nay, in one sense, I will grant it is more than specious, 
it is true ; but, if so, how do I propose directly to meet 
the objection ? Why, Gentlemen, I have really met it 
already, viz., in laying down, that intellectual culture is 
its own end ; for what has its end in itself, has its use in 
itself also. I say, if a Liberal Education consists in the 
culture of the intellect, and if that culture be in itself a 
good, here, without going further, is an answer to Locke's 
question ; for if a healthy body is a good in itself, why 
is not a healthy intellect .'' and if a College of Physicians 
is a useful institution, because it contemplates bodily 
health, why is not an Academical Body, though it were 
simply and solely engaged in imparting vigour and 
beauty and grasp to the intellectual portion of our 
nature ? And the Reviewers I am quoting seem to 
allow this in their better moments, in a passage which, 
putting aside the question of its justice in fact, is sound 
and true in the principles to which it appeals : — 

" The present state of classical education," they say, 
" cultivates the imagination a great deal too much, 
and other habits of mind a great deal too little, and 
trains up many young men in a style of elegant imbe- 
cility, utterly unworthy of the talents with which nature 
has endowed them .... The matter of fact is, that a 
classical scholar of twenty-three or twenty-four is a man 
principally conversant with works of imagination. His 
feelings are quick, his fancy lively, and his taste good. 
Talents for speculation and original inquiry he has none, 
nor has he formed the invaluable habit of pushing things 
up to their first principles, or of collecting dry and un- 
amusing facts as the materials for reasoning. All the 
solid and masculine parts of his understanding are left 
wholly without cultivation ; he hates the pain of thinking, 
and suspects every man whose boldness and originality 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 163 

call upon him to defend his opinions and prove his 


Now, I am not at present concerned with the specific 
question of classical education ; else, I might reasonably 
question the justice of calling an intellectual discipline, 
which embraces the study of Aristotle, Thucydides, and 
Tacitus, which involves Scholarship and Antiquities, 
imaginative ; still so far I readily grant, that the culti- 
vation of the " understanding," of a " talent for specu- 
lation and original inquiry," and of "the habit of pushing 
things up to their first principles," is a principal portion 
of a good or liberal education. If then the Reviewers 
consider such cultivation the characteristic of a useful 
education, as they seem to do in the foregoing passage, 
it follows, that what they mean by " useful " is just what 
I mean by "good" or "liberal:" and Locke's question 
becomes a verbal one. Whether youths are to be 
taught Latin or verse-making will depend on the faet, 
whether these studies tend to mental culture ; but, how- 
ever this is determined, so far is clear, that in that 
mental culture consists what I have called a liberal or 
non-professional, and what the Reviewers call a useful 

This is the obvious answer which may be made to 
those who urge upon us the claims of Utility in our 
plans of Education ; but I am not going to leave the 
subject here : I mean to take a wider view of it. Let 
us take " useful," as Locke takes it, in its proper and 
popular sense, and then we enter upon a large field of 
thought, to which I cannot do justice in one Discourse, 
though to-day's is all the space that I can give to it. I 
say, let us take " useful " to mean, not what is simply 

164 Discourse VII, 

good, but what tends to good, or is the insirtimejit of 
good ; and in this sense also, Gentlemen, I will show 
you how a liberal education is truly and fully a useful, 
though it be not a professional, education. " Good " 
indeed means one thing, and " useful " means another ; 
but I lay it down as a principle, which will save us a 
great deal of anxiety, that, though the useful is not 
always good, the good is always useful. Good is not 
only good, but reproductive of good ; this is one of its 
attributes ; nothing is excellent, beautiful, perfect, desir- 
able for its own sake, but it overflows, and spreads the 
likeness of itself all around it. Good is prolific ; it is 
not only good to the eye, but to the taste ; it not only 
attracts us, but it communicates itself; it excites first 
our admiration and love, then our desire and our grati- 
tude, and that, in proportion to its intenseness and 
fulness in particular instances. A great good will im- 
part great good. If then the intellect is so excellent a 
portion of us, and its cultivation so excellent, it is not 
only beautiful, perfect, admirable, and noble in itself, 
but in a true and high sense it must be useful to the 
possessor and to all around him ; not useful in any low, 
mechanical, mercantile sense, but as diffusing good, or 
as a blessing, or a gift, or power, or a treasure, first to 
the owner, then through him to the world. I say then, 
if a liberal education be good, it must necessarily be 
useful too. 


You will see what I mean by the parallel of bodily 
health. Health is a good in itself, though nothing came 
of it, and is especially worth seeking and cherishing ; 
yet, after all, the blessings which attend its presence are 
so great, while thdy are so close to it and so redound 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 165 

back upon it and encircle it, that we never think of it 
except as useful as well as good, and praise and prize it 
for what it does, as well as for what it is, though at the 
same time we cannot point out any definite and distinct 
Avork or production which it ckn be said to effect And 
so as regards intellectual culture, I am far from denying 
utility in this large sense as the end of Education, when 
I lay it down, that the culture of the intellect is a good 
in itself and its own end ; I do not exclude from the 
idea of intellectual culture what it cannot but be, from " 
the very nature of things ; I only deny that we must be 
able to point out, before we have any right to call it 
useful, some art, or business, or profession, or trade, or 
work, as resulting from it, and as its real and complete 
end. The parallel is exact : — As the body may be 
sacrificed to some manual or other toil, whether mode- 
rate or oppressive, so may the intellect be devoted to 
some specific profession ; and I do not call this the culture 
of the intellect. Again, as some member or organ of 
the body may be inordinately used and developed, so 
may memory, or imagination, or the reasoning faculty ; 
and this again is not intellectual culture. On the other 
hand, as the body may be tended, cherished, and exer- 
cised with a simple view to its general health, so may 
the intellect also be generally exercised in order to its 
perfect state ; and this is its cultivation. 

Again, as health ought to precede labour of the body, 
and as a man in health can do what an unhealthy man 
cannot do, and as of this health the properties are 
strength, energy, agility, graceful carriage and action, 
manual dexterity, and endurance of fatigue, so in like 
manner general culture of mind is the best aid to pro- 
fessional and scientific study, and educated men can do 
what illiterate cannot ; and the man who has learned to 

1 66 Discourse VII, 

think and to reason and to compare and to discriminate 
and to analyze, who has refined his taste, and formed his 
judgment, and sharpened his mental vision, will not in- 
deed at once be a lawyer, or a pleader, or an orator, or 
a statesman, or a physician, or a good landlord, or a 
man of business, or a soldier, or an engineer, or a 
chemist, or a geologist, or an antiquarian, but he will be 
placed in that state of intellect in which he can take up 
any one of the sciences or callings I have referred to, or 
any other for which he has a taste or special talent, with 
an ease, a grace, a versatility, and a success, to which 
another is a stranger. In this sense then, and as yet I 
have said but a very few words on a large subject, mental 
culture is emphatically useful. 

If then I am arguing, and shall argue, against Profes- 
sional or Scientific knowledge as the sufficient end of a 
University Education, let me not be supposed, Gentle- 
men, to be disrespectful towards particular studies, or 
arts, or vocations, and those who are engaged in them. 
In saying that Law or Medicine is not the end of a 
University course, I do not mean to imply that the 
University does not teach Law or Medicine. What in- 
deed can it teach at all, if it does not teach something 
particular .'' It teaches all knowledge by teaching all 
branches of knowledge, and in no other way. I do but 
say that there will be this distinction as regards a Pro- 
fessor of Law, or of Medicine, or of Geology, or of 
Political Economy, in a University and out of it, that 
out of a University he is in danger of being absorbed 
and narrowed by his pursuit, and of giving Lectures which 
are the Lectures of nothing more than a lawyer, physi- 
cian, geologist, or political economist; whereas in a Uni- 
versity he will just know where he and his science stand, 
he has come to it, as it were, from a height, he has taken 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 1 67 

a survey of all knowledge, he is kept from extravagance 
by the very rivalry of other studies, he has gained from 
them a special illumination and largeness of mind and 
freedom and self-possession, and he treats his own in con- 
sequence with a philosophy and a resource, which belongs 
not to the study itself, but to his liberal education. 

This then is how I should solve the fallacy, for so I 
must call it, by which Locke and his disciples would 
frighten us from cultivating the intellect, under the notion 
that no education is useful which does not teach us some 
temporal calling, or some mechanical art, or some phy- 
sical secret. I say that a cultivated intellect, because it 
is a good in itself, brings with it a power and a grace 
to every work and occupation which it undertakes, and 
enables us to be more useful, and to a greater number. 
There is a duty we owe to human society as such, to the 
state to which we belong, to the sphere in which we 
move, to the individuals towards whom we are variously 
related, and whom we successively encounter in life ; 
and that philosophical or liberal education, as I have 
called it, which is the proper function of a University, if 
it refuses the foremost place to professional interests, 
does but postpone them to the formation of the citizen, 
and, while it subserves the larger interests of philan- 
thropy, prepares also for the successful prosecution of 
those merely personal objects, which at first sight it 
seems to disparage. 


And now. Gentlemen, I wish to be allowed to enforce 
in detail what I have been saying, by some extracts 
from the writings to which I have already alluded, and to 
which I am so greatly indebted. 

" It is an undisputed maxim in Political Economy," 

1 68 Discourse VII. 

says Dr. Copleston, " that the separation of professions 
and the division of labour tend to the perfection of 
every art, to the wealth of nations, to the general com- 
fort and well-being of the community. This principle 
of division is in some instances pursued so far as to 
excite the wonder of people to whose notice it is for the 
first time pointed out. There is no saying to what ex- 
tent it may not be carried ; and the more the powers of 
each individual are concentrated in one employment, the 
greater skill and quickness will he naturally display in 
performing it. But, while he thus contributes more 
effectually to the accumulation of national wealth, he 
becomes himself more and more degraded as a rational 
being. In proportion as his sphere of action is narrowed 
his mental powers and habits become contracted ; and 
he resembles a subordinate part of some powerful ma- 
chinery, useful in its place, but insignificant and worth- 
less out of it. If it be necessary, as it is beyond all 
question necessary, that society should be split into 
divisions and subdivisions, in order that its several duties 
may be well performed, yet we must be careful not to 
yield up ourselves wholly and exclusively to the guidance 
of this system ; we must observe what its evils are, and we 
should modify and restrain it, by bringing into action 
other principles, which may serve as a check and coun- 
terpoise to the main force. 

" There can be no doubt that every art is improved by 
confining the professor of it to that single study. But, 
although the art itself is actvanced by this concentration of 
mind in its service, the individual who is cott fined to it 
goes back. The advantage of the community is nearly in 
an inverse ratio with his own. 

" Society itself requires some other contribution from 
each individual, besides the particular duties of his 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 1 69 

profession. And, if no such liberal intercourse be estab- 
lished, it is the common failing of human nature, to be 
engrossed with petty views and interests, to underrate 
the importance of all in which we are not concerned, and 
to carry our partial notions into cases where they are 
inapplicable, to act, in short, as so many unconnected 
units, displacing and repelling one another, 

" In the cultivation of literature is found that common 
link, which, among the higher and middling departments 
of life, unites the jarring sects and subdivisions into one 
interest, which supplies common topics, and kindles 
common feelings, unmixed with those narrow prejudices 
with which all professions are more or less infected. The 
knowledge, too, which is thus acquired, expands and 
enlarges the mind, excites its faculties, and calls those 
limbs and muscles into freer exercise which, by too 
constant use in one direction, not only acquire an 
illiberal air, but are apt also to lose somewhat of their 
native play and energy. And thus, without directly 
qualifying a man for any of the employments of life, it 
enriches and ennobles all. Without teaching him the 
peculiar business of any one office or calling, it enables 
him to act his part in each of them with better grace and 
more elevated carriage ; and, if happily planned and con- 
ducted, is a main ingredient in that complete and 
generous education which fits a man ' to perform justly, 
skilfully, and magnanimously, all the offices, both private 
and public, of peace and war.'"* 

The view of Liberal Education, advocated in these 
extracts, is expanded by Mr. Davison in the Essay to 
which I have already referred. He lays more stress on 
♦ Vid. Milton on Lducation. 

I70 Discourse VII. 

the " usefulness" of Liberal Education in the larger sense 
of the word than his predecessor in the controversy. 
Instead of arguing that the Utility of knowledge to the 
individual varies inversely with its Utility to the public, 
he chiefly employs himself on the suggestions contained 
in Dr. Copleston's last sentences. He shows, first, that 
a Liberal Education is something far higher, even in 
the scale of Utility, than what is commonly called a 
Useful Education, and next, that it is necessary or useful 
for the purposes even of that Professional Education which 
commonly engrosses the title of Useful. The former of 
these two theses he recommends to us in an argument 
from which the following passages are selected : — 

" It is to take a very contracted view of life," he says, 
" to think with great anxiety how persons may be 
educated to superior skill in their department, compara- 
tively neglecting or excluding the more liberal and 
enlarged cultivation. In his (Mr, Edgeworth's) system, 
the value of every attainment is to be measured by its 
subserviency to a calling. The specific duties of that 
calling are exalted at the cost of those free and indepen- 
dent tastes and virtues which come in to sustain the 
common relations of society, and raise the individual in 
them. In short, a man is to be usurped by his profession. 
He is to be clothed in its garb from head to foot. His 
virtues, his science, and his ideas are all to be put into a 
gown or uniform, and the whole man to be shaped, 
pressed, and stift'ened, in the exact mould of his technical 
character. Any interloping accomplishments, or a faculty 
which cannot be taken into public pay, if they are to be 
indulged in him at all, must creep along under the cloak 
of his more serviceable privileged merits, Such is the 
state of perfection to which the spirit and general ten- 
dency of this system would lead us. 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 171 

" But the professional character is not the only one 
which a person engaged in a profession has to support. 
He is not ahvays upon duty. There are services he owes, 
which are neither parochial, nor forensic, nor mihtary, 
nor to be described by any such epithet of civil regulation, 
and yet are in no wise inferior to those that bear these 
authoritative titles; inferior neither in their intrinsic value, • 
nor their moral import, nor their impression upon society. 
As a friend, as a companion, as a citizen at large ; in 
the connections of domestic life ; in the improvement and 
embellishment of his leisure, he has a sphere of action, 
revolving, if you please, within the sphere of his profes- 
sion, but not clashing with it ; in which if he can show 
none of the advantages of an improved understanding, 
whatever may be his skill or proficiency in the other, he 
is no more than an ill-educated man. 

" There is a certain faculty in which all nations of any 
refinement are great practitioners. It is not taught at 
school or college as a distinct science ; though it deserves 
that what is taught there should be made to have some 
reference to it ; nor is it endowed at all by the public ; 
everybody being obliged to exercise it for himself in 
person, which he does to the best of his skill. But in 
nothing is there a greater difference than in the manner 
of doing it. The advocates of professional learning will 
smile when we tell them that this same faculty which we 
would have encouraged, is simply that of speaking good 
sense in English, without fee or reward, in common con- 
versation. They will smile when we lay some stress 
upon it ; but in reality it is no such trifle as they 
imagine. Look into the huts of savages, and see, for 
there is nothing to listen to, the dismal blank of their 
stupid hours of silence ; their professional avocations of 
war and hunting are over ; and, having nothing to do. 

172 Discourse VII. 

they have nothuig to say. Turn to improved hfe, and you 
find conversation in all its forms the medium of some- 
thing more than an idle pleasure ; indeed, a very active 
agent in circulating and forming the opinions, tastes, and 
feelings of a whole people. It makes of itself a con- 
siderable affair. Its topics are the most promiscuous — 
. all those which do not belong to any particular province. 
As for its power and influence, we may fairly say that it 
is of just the same consequence to a man's immediate 
society, how he talks, as how he acts. Now of all those 
who furnish their share to rational conversation, a mere 
adept in his own art is universally admitted to be the 
worst. The sterility and uninstructiveness of such a 
person's social hours are quite proverbial. Or if he 
escape being dull, it is only by launching into ill-timed, 
learned loquacity. We do not desire of him lectures or 
speeches ; and he has nothing else to give. Among 
benches he may be powerful ; but seated on a chair he 
is quite another person. On the other hand, we may 
affirm, that one of the best companions is a man who, 
to the accuracy and research of a profession, has joined 
a free excursive acquaintance with various learning, and 
caught from it the spirit of general observation." 

Having thus shown that a liberal education is a real 
benefit to the subjects of it, as members of society, in the 
various duties and circumstances and accidents of life, 
he goes on, in the next place, to show that, over and 
above those direct services ' which might fairly be ex- 
pected of it, it actually subserves the discharge of those 
particular functions, and the pursuit of those particular 
advantages, which are connected with professional exer- 
tion, and to which Professional Education is directed. 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 1 7 3 

"We admit," he observes, "that when a person makes 
a business of one pursuit, he is in the right way to emi- 
nence in it ; and that divided attention will rarely give 
excellence in many. But our assent will go no further. 
For, to think that the way to prepare a person for excel- 
ling in any one pursuit (and that is the only point in 
hand), is to fetter his early studies, and cramp the first 
development of his mind, by a reference to the exigencies 
of that pursuit barely, is a very different notion, and one 
which, we apprehend, deserves to be exploded rather than 
received. Possibly a few of the abstract, insulated kinds 
of learning might be approached in that way. The ex- 
ceptions to be made are very few, and need not be 
recited. But for the acquisition of professional and 
practical ability such maxims are death to it. The 
main ingredients of that ability are requisite knowledge 
and cultivated faculties ; but, of the two, the latter is by 
far the chief A man of well improved faculties has the 
command of another's knowledge. A man without them, 
has not the command of his own. 

"Of the intellectual powers, the judgment is that which 
takes the foremost lead in life. How to form it to the 
two habits it ought to possess, of exactness and vigour, is 
the problem. It would be ignorant presumption so 
much as to hint at any routine of method by which 
these qualities may with certainty be imparted to every 
or any understanding. Still, however, we may safely 
lay it down that they are not to be got 'by a gatherer of 
simples,' but are the combined essence and extracts of 
many different things, drawn from much varied reading 
and discipline, first, and observation afterwards. For if 
there be a single intelligible point on this head, it is that 
a man who has been trained to think upon one subject 
or for one subject only, will never be a good judge even 

174 Discourse VII. 

in that one : whereas the enlargement of his circle gives 
him increased knowledge and power in a rapidly in- 
creasing ratio. So much do ideas act, not as solitary 
units, but by grouping and combination ; and so clearly 
do all the things that fall within the proper province of 
the same faculty of the mind, intertwine with and support 
each other. Judgment lives as it were by comparison 
and discrimination. Can it be doubted, then, whether 
the range and extent of that assemblage of things upon 
which it is practised in its first essays are of use to its 
power } 

" To open our way a little further on this matter, we 
will define what we mean by the power of judgment ; 
and then try to ascertain among what kind of studies 
the improvement of it may be expected at all. 

"Judgment does not stand here for a certain homely, 
useful quality of intellect, that guards a person from 
committing mistakes to the injury of his fortunes or 
common reputation ; but for that master-principle of 
business, literature, and talent, which gives him strength 
in any subject he chooses to grapple with, and enables 
him to seize the stro7ig point in it. Whether this definition 
be metaphysically correct or not, it comes home to the 
substance of our inquiry. It describes the power that 
every one desires to possess when he comes to act in a 
profession, or elsewhere ; and corresponds with our best 
idea of a cultivated mind. 

" Next, it will not be denied, that in order to do any 
good to the judgment, the mind must be employed 
upon such subjects as come within the cognizance of 
that faculty, and give some real exercise to its percep- 
tions. Here we have a rule of selection by which the 
different parts of learning may be classed for our purpose. 
Those which belong to the province of the judgment 

Knowledge and Professional Skill, 175 

are religion (in its evidences and interpretation), ethics, 
history, eloquence, poetry, theories of general speculation, 
the fine arts, and works of wit. Great as the variety of 
these large divisions of learning may appear, they are all 
held in union by two capital principles of connexion. 
First, they are all quarried out of one and the same great 
subject of man's moral, social, and feeling nature. And 
secondly, they are all under the control (more or less 
strict) of the same power of moral reason." 

"If these studies," he continues, "be such as give a 
direct play and exercise to the faculty of the judgment, 
then they are the true basis of education for the active 
and inventive powers, whether destined for a profession 
or any other use. Miscellaneous as the assemblage may 
appear, of history, eloquence, poetry, ethics, etc., blended 
together, they will all conspire in an union of effect. 
They are necessary mutually to explain and interpret 
each other. The knowledge derived from them all will 
amalgamate, and the habits of a mind versed and 
practised in them by turns will join to produce a richer 
vein of thought and of more general and practical 
application than could be obtained of any single one, as 
the fusion of the metals into Corinthian brass gave the 
artist his most ductile and perfect material. Might we 
venture to imitate an author (whom indeed it is much 
safer to take as an authority than to attempt to copy), 
Lord Bacon, in some of his concise illustrations of the 
comparative utility of the different studies, we should 
say that history would give fulness, moral philosophy 
strength, and poetry elevation to the understanding. 
Such in reality is the natural force and tendency of the 
studies ; but there are few minds susceptible enough 
to derive from them any sort of virtue adequate to 
those high expressions. We must be contented there- 

176 Discourse VI I. 

fore to lower our panegyric to this, that a person cannot 
avoid receiving some infusion and tincture, at least, of 
those several qualities, from that course of diversified 
reading. One thing is unquestionable, that the elements 
of general reason are not to be found fully and truly ex- 
pressed in any one kind of study; and that he who would 
wish to know her idiom, must read it in many books. 

" If different studies are useful for aiding, they are still 
more useful for correcting each other ; for as they have 
their' particular merits severally, so they have their 
defects, and the most extensive acquaintance with one 
can produce only an intellect either too flashy or too 
jejune, or infected with some other fault of confined 
reading. History, for example, shows things as they are, 
that is, the morals and interests of men disfigured and 
perverted by all their imperfections of passion, folly, and 
ambition ; philosophy strips the picture too much; poetry 
adorns it too much ; the concentrated lights of the three 
correct the false peculiar colouring of each, and show us 
the truth. The right mode of thinking upon it is to be 
had from them taken all together, as every one must 
kiiow who has seen their united contributions of thought 
and feeling expressed in the masculine sentiment of our 
immortal statesman, Mr. Burke, whose eloquence is 
inferior only to his more admirable wisdom. If any 
mind improved like his, is to be our instructor, we must 
go to the fountain head of things as he did, and study 
not his works but his method ; by the one we may 
become feeble imitators, by the other arrive at some 
ability of our own. But, as all biography assures us, he, 
and every other able thinker, has been formed, not by 
a parsimonious admeasurement of studies to some 
definite future object (which is Mr. Edgeworth's maxim), 
but by taking a wide and liberal compass, and thinking 

Knowledge and Professional Skill. 177 

a great deal on many subjects with no better end in 
view tlian because the exercise was one which made 
them more rational and intelligent beings." 


But I must bring these extracts to an end. To-day I 
have confined myself to saying that that training of the 
intellect, which is best for the individual himself, best 
enables him to discharge his duties to society. The 
Philosopher, indeed, and the man of the world differ in 
their very notion, but the methods, by which they are re- 
spectively formed, are pretty much the same. The Philoso- 
pher has the same command of matters of thought, which 
the true citizen and gentleman has of matters of business 
and conduct. If then a practical end must be assigned to a 
University course, I say it is that of training good mem- 
bers of society. Its art is the art of social life, and its end is 
fitness for the world. It neither confines its views to parti- 
cular professions on the one hand, nor creates heroes or 
inspires genius on the other. Works indeed of genius fall 
under no art; heroic minds come under no rule; a Univer- 
sity is not a birthplace of poets or of immortal authors, of 
founders of schools, leaders of colonies, or conquerors of 
nations. It does not promise a generation of Aristotles or 
Newtons, of Napoleons or Washingtons, of Raphaels or 
Shakespeares, though such miracles of nature it has before 
now contained within its precincts. Nor is it content on the 
other hand with forming the critic or the experimentalist, 
the economist or the engineer, though such too it includes 
within its scope. But a University training is the great 
ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at 
raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the 
public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying 
true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to 
7* 12 

178 Discourse VI I. 

popular aspiration, at giving enlargement and sobriety to 
the ideas of the age, at facilitating the exercise of political 
power, and refining the intercourse of private life. It is 
the education which gives a man a clear conscious view 
of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing 
them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in 
urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, 
to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, 
to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irre- 
levant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and 
to master any subject with facility. It shows him how 
to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself 
into their state of mind, how to bring before them his 
own, how to influence them, how to come to an under- 
standing with them, how to bear with them. He is at 
home in any society, he has common ground with every 
class ; he knows when to speak and when to be silent ; 
he is able to converse, he is able to listen ; he can ask a 
question pertinently, and gain a lesson seasonably, when 
he has nothing to impart himself ; he is ever ready, yet 
never in the way ; he is a pleasant companion, and a 
comrade you can depend upon ; he knows when to be 
serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which 
enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious 
with effect. He has the repose of a mind which lives in 
itself, while it lives in the world, and which has resources 
for its happiness at home when it cannot go abroad. He 
has a gift which serves him in public, and supports him 
in retirement, without which good fortune is but vulgar, 
and with which failure and disappointment have a charm. 
The art which tends to make a man all this, is in the 
object which it pursues as useful as the art of wealth or the 
art of health, though it is less susceptible of method, and 
less tangible, less certain, less complete in its result. 




WE shall be brought, Gentlemen, to-day, to the 
termination of the investigation Avhich I com- 
menced three Discourses back, and which, I was well 
aware, from its length, if for no other reason, would make 
demands upon the patience even of indulgent hearers. 

First I employed myself in establishing the principle 
that Knowledge is its own reward ; and I showed that, 
when considered in this light, it is called Liberal Know- 
ledge, and is the scope of Academical Institutions. 

Next, I examined what is meant by Knowledge, when 
it is said to be pursued for its own sake ; and I showed 
that, in order satisfactorily to fulfil this idea, Philosophy 
must be its form ; or, in other words, that its matter 
must not be admitted into the mind passively, as so much 
acquirement, but must be mastered and appropriated as a 
system consisting of parts, related one to the other, and 
interpretative of one another in the unity of a whole. 

Further, I showed that such a philosophical contem- 
plation of the field of Knowledge as a whole, leading, as 
it did, to an understanding of its separate departments, 
and an appreciation of them respectively, might in con- 
sequence be rightly called an illumination ; also, it was 
rightly called an enlargement of mind, because it was a 

i8o Discourse VIII. 

distinct location of things one with another, as if in 
space ; while it was moreover its proper cultivation and 
its best condition, both because it secured to the intellect 
the sight of things as they are, or of truth, in opposition 
to fancy, opinion, and theory; and again, because it pre- 
supposed and involved the perfection of its various 

Such. I said, was that Knowledge, which deserves to 
be sought for its own sake, even though it promised no 
ulterior advantage. But, when I had got as far as this, I 
went farther, and observed that, from the nature of the 
case, what was so good in itself could not but have a 
number of external uses, though it did not promise them, 
simply because it was good ; and that it was necessarily 
the source of benefits to society, great and diversified in 
proportion to its own intrinsic excellence. Just as in 
morals, honesty is the best policy, as being profitable in 
a secular aspect, though such profit is not the measure 
of its worth, so too as regards what may be called the 
virtues of the Intellect, their very possession indeed is a 
substantial good, and is enough, yet still that substance 
has a shadow, inseparable from it, viz., its social and 
political usefulness. And this was the subject to which 
I devoted the preceding Discourse. 

One portion of the subject remains : — this intellectual 
culture, which is so exalted in itself, not only has a 
bearing upon social and active duties, but upon Religion 
also. The educated mind may be said to be in a certain 
sense religious ; that is, it has what may be considered a 
religion of its own, independent of Catholicism, partly co- 
operating with it, partly thwarting it ; at once a defence 
yet a disturbance to the Church in Catholic countries, — 
and in countries beyond her pale, at one time in open 
warfare with her, at another in defensive alliance. The 

Knowledge and Religious Dtity, 1 8 1 

history of Schools and Academies, and of Literature and 
Science generally, will, I think, justify me in thus speak- 
ing. Since, then, my aim in these Discourses is to 
ascertain the function and the action of a University, 
viewed in itself, and its relations to the various instru- 
ments of teaching and training which are round about it, 
my survey of it would not be complete unless I attempted, 
as I now propose to do, to exhibit its general bearings 
upon Religion. 


Right Reason, that is. Reason rightly exercised, leads 
the mind to the Catholic Faith, and plants it there, and 
teaches it in all its religious speculations to act under its 
guidance. But Reason, considered as a real agent in the 
world, and as an operative principle in man's nature, with 
an historical course and with definite results, is far from 
taking so straight and satisfactory a 'direction. It 
considers itself from first to last independent and 
supreme ; it requires no external authority ; it makes a 
religion for itself. Even though it accepts Catholicism, 
it does not go to sleep ; it has an action and development 
of its own, as the passions have, or the moral sentiments, 
or the principle of self-interest. Divine grace, to use the 
language of Theology, does not by its presence supersede 
nature ; nor is nature at once brought into simple concur- 
rence and coalition with grace. Nature pursues its course, 
now coincident with that of grace, now parallel to it, now 
across, now divergent, now counter, in proportion to its 
own imperfection and to the attraction and influence 
which grace exerts over it. And what takes place as 
regards other principles of our nature and their develop- 
ments is found also as regards the Reason. There is, we 
know, a Religion of enthusiasm, of superstitious ignorance. 

1 82 Discourse VIII. 

of statecraft ; and each has that in it which resembles 
Catholicism, and that again which contradicts Catho- 
licism. There is the Religion of a warlike people, and 
of a pastoral people ; there is a Religion of rude times, 
and in like manner there is a Religion of civilized times, 
of the cultivated intellect, of the philosopher, scholar, 
and gentleman. This is that Religion of Reason, of 
which I speak. Viewed in itself, however near it comes 
to Catholicism, it is of course simply distinct from it ; for 
Catholicism is one whole, and admits of no compromise 
or modification. Yet this is to view it in the abstract ; 
in matter of fact, and in reference to individuals, we 
can have no difficulty in conceiving this philosophical 
Religion present in a Catholic country, as a spirit in- 
fluencing men to a certain extent, for good or for bad 
or for both, — a spirit of the age, which again may be 
found, as among Catholics, so with still greater sway 
and success in a country not Catholic, yet specifically 
the same in such a country as it exists in a Catholic 
community. The problem then before us to-day, is to 
set down some portions of the outline, if we can ascertain 
them, of the Religion of Civilization, and to determine 
how they lie relatively to those principles, doctrines, and 
rules, which Heaven has given us in the Catholic 

And here again, when I speak of Revealed Truth, it 
is scarcely necessary to say that I am not referring to 
the main articles and prominent points of faith, as con- 
tained in the Creed. Had I undertaken to delineate a 
philosophy, which directly interfered with the Creed, I 
could not have spoken of it as compatible with the pro- 
fession of Catholicism. The philosophy I speak of, 
whether it be viewed within or outside the Church, does 
not necessarily take cognizance of the Creed. Where 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 153 

the country is Catholic, the educated mind takes its 
articles for granted, by a sort of implicit faith; wher^ 
it is not, it simply ignores them and the whole subject- 
matter to which they relate, as not affecting social and 
political interests. Truths about God's Nature, about 
His dealings towards the human race, about the 
Economy of Redemption, — in the one case it humbly 
accepts them, and passes on ; in the other it passes them 
over, as matters of simple opinion, which never can be 
decided, and which can have no power over us to make 
us morally better or worse. I am not speaking then of 
belief in the great objects of faith, when I speak of 
Catholicism, but I am contemplating Catholicism chiefly 
as a system of pastoral instruction and moral duty; and 
I have to do with its doctrines mainly as they are sub- 
servient to its direction of the conscience and the con- 
duct. I speak of it, for instance, as teaching the ruined 
state of man ; his utter inability to gain Heaven by any 
thing he can do himself; the moral certainty of his 
losing his soul if left to himself; the simple absence of 
all rights and claims on the part of the creature in the 
presence of the Creator ; the illimitable claims of the 
Creator on the service of the creature; the imperative 
and obligatory force of the voice of conscience ; and 
the inconceivable evil of sensuality. I speak of it as 
teaching, that no one gains Heaven except by the free 
grace of God, or without a regeneration of nature ; that 
no one can please Him without faith ; that the heart is 
the seat both of sin and of obedience ; that charity is 
the fulfilling of the Law ; and that incorporation into 
the Catholic Church is the ordinary instrument of salva- 
tion. These are the lessons which distinguish Catholi- 
cism as a popular religion, and these are the subjects to 
which the cultivated intellect will practically be turned : — 

1 84 Discourse VIII. 

I have to compare auJ contrast, not the doctrinal, but 
the moral and social teaching of Philosophy on the one 
hand, and Catholicism on the other. 

Now, on opening the subject, we see at once a momen- 
tous benefit which the philosopher is likely to confer on 
the pastors of the Church. It is obvious that the first 
step which they have to effect in the conversion of man 
and the renovation of his nature, is his rescue from that 
fearful subjection to sense which is his ordinary state. 
To be able to break through the meshes of that thral- 
dom, and to disentangle and to disengage its ten thou- 
sand holds upon the heart, is to bring it, I might almost 
say, half way to Heaven. Here, even divine grace, to 
speak of things according to their appearances, is ordi- 
narily baffled, and retires, without expedient or resource, 
before this giant fascination. Religion seems too high 
and unearthly to be able to exert a continued influence 
upon us : its effort to rouse the soul, and the soul's effort 
to co-operate, are too violent to last. It is like holding 
out the arm at full length, or supporting some great 
weight, which we manage to do for a time, but soon are 
exhausted and succumb. Nothing can act beyond its 
own nature ; when then we are called to what is super- 
natural, though those extraordinary aids from Heaven 
are given us, with which obedience becomes possible, yet 
even with them it is of transcendent difficulty. We are 
drawn down to earth every moment with the ease and 
certainty of a natural gravitation, and it is only by 
sudden impulses and, as it were, forcible plunges that we 
attempt to mount upwards. Religion indeed enlightens^ 
terrifies, subdues ; it gives faith, it inflicts remorse, it in- 
spires resolutions, it draws tears, it inflames devotion, but 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 185 

only for the occasion. I repeat, it imparts an inward 
power which ought to effect more than this ; 1 am not 
forgetting either the real sufficiency of its aids, nor the 
responsibihty of those in whom they fail. I am not 
discussing theological questions at all, I am looking at 
phenomena as they He before me, and I say that, in 
matter of fact, the sinful spirit repents, and protests it 
will never sin again, and for a while is protected by disgust 
and abhorrence from the malice of its foe. But that foe 
knows too well that such seasons of repentance are wont 
to have their end : he patiently waits, till nature faints 
with the effort of resistance, and lies passive and hope- 
less under the next access of temptation. What we 
need then is some expedient or instrument, which at least 
will obstruct and stave off the approach of our spiritual 
enemy, and which is sufficiently congenial and level 
with our nature to maintain as firm a hold upon us as 
the inducements of sensual gratification. It will be our 
wisdom to employ nature against itself Thus sorrow, 
sickness, and care are providential antagonists to our 
inward disorders ; they come upon us as years pass on, 
and generally produce their natural effects on us, in pro- 
portion as we are subjected to their influence. These, 
however, are God's instruments, not ours ; we need a 
similar remedy, which we can make our own, the object 
of some legitimate faculty, or the aim of some natural 
affection, which is capable of resting on the mind, and 
taking up its familiar lodging with it, and engrossing it, 
and which thus becomes a match for the besetting power 
of sensuality, and a sort of homoeopathic medicine for the 
disease. Here then I think is the important aid which 
intellectual cultiv^ation furnishes to us in rescuing the 
victims of passion and self-will. It does not supply re- 
ligious motivfes ; it is not the cause or proper antecedent 

1 86 Discourse VIIL 

of any thing supernatural ; it is not meritorious of 
heavenly aid or reward ; but it does a work, at least 
materially good (as theologians speak), whatever be its 
real and formal character. It expels the excitements of 
sense by the introduction of those of the intellect. 

This then is \he prinid facie advantage of the pursuit 
of Knowledge ; it is the drawing the mind off from 
things which will harm it to subjects which are worthy 
a rational being; and, though it does not raise it above 
nature, nor has any tendency to make us pleasing to our 
Maker, yet is it nothing to substitute what is in itself 
harmless for what is, to say the least, inexpressibly 
dangerous ? is it a little thing to exchange a circle of 
ideas which are certainly sinful, for others which are 
certainly not so ? You will say, perhaps, in the words 
of the Apostle, " Knowledge puffeth up :" and doubtless 
this mental cultivation, even when it is successful for the 
purpose for which I am applying it, may be from the 
first nothing more than the substitution of pride for 
sensuality. I grant it, I think I shall have something to 
say on this point presently ; but this is not a necessary 
result, it is but an incidental evil, a danger which may 
be realized or may be averted, whereas we may in most 
cases predicate guilt, and guilt of a heinous kind, where 
the mind is suffered to run wild and indulge its thoughts 
without training or law of any kind ; and surely to turn 
away a soul from mortal sin is a good and a gain so 
far, whatever comes of it. And therefore, if a friend in 
need is twice a friend, I conceive that intellectual employ- 
ments, though they do no more than occupy the mind 
with objects naturally noble or innocent, have a special 
claim upon our consideration and gratitude. 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 187 


Nor is this all : Knowledge, the discipline by which it 
is gained, and the tastes which it forms, have a natural 
tendency to refine the mind, and to give it an indispo- 
sition, simply natural, yet real, nay, more than this, a 
disgust and abhorrence, towards excesses and enormi- 
ties of evil, which are often or ordinarily reached at 
length by those who are not careful from the first to 
set themselves against what is vicious and criminal. It 
generates within the mind a fastidiousness, analogous to 
the delicacy or daintiness which good nurture or a sickly 
habit induces in respect of food ; and this fastidiousness, 
though arguing no high principle, though no protection 
in the case of violent temptation, nor sure in its operation, 
yet will often or generally be lively enough to create 
an absolute loathing of certain offences, or a detestation 
and scorn of them as ungentlemanlike, to which ruder 
natures, nay, such as have far more of real religion in 
them, are tempted, or even betrayed. Scarcely can we 
exaggerate the value, in its place, of a safeguard such as 
this, as regards those multitudes who are thrown upon 
the open field of the world, or are withdrawn from its 
eye and from the restraint of public opinion. In many 
cases, where it exists, sins, familiar to those who are 
otherwise circumstanced, will not even occur to the 
mind : in others, the sense of shame and the quickened 
apprehension of detection will act as a sufficient obstacle 
to them, when they do present themselves before it. 
Then, again, the fastidiousness I am speaking of will 
create a simple hatred of that miserable tone of conver- 
sation which, obtaining as it does in the world, is a con- 
stant fuel of evil, heaped up round about the soul : more- 
over, it will create an irresolution and indecision in doinar 

i88 Discourse VIII. 

wrong, which will act as a remora till the danger is past 
away. And though it has no tendency, I repeat, to 
mend the heart, or to secure it from the dominion in 
other shapes of those very evils which it repels in the 
particular modes of approach by which they prevail over 
others, yet cases may occur when it gives birth, after sins 
have been committed, to so keen a. remorse and so intense 
a self-hatred, as are even sufficient to cure the particular 
moral disorder, and to prevent its accesses ever after- 
wards ; — as the spendthrift in the story, who, after gazing 
on his lost acres from the summit of an eminence, came 
down a miser, and remained a miser to the end of his 

And all this holds good in a special way, in an age 
rjuch as ours, when, although pain of body and mind 
may be rife as heretofore, yet other counteractions of evil, 
of a penal character, which are present at other times, are 
away. In rude and semi-barbarous periods, at least in a 
climate such as our own, it is the daily, nay, the principal 
business of the senses, to convey feelings of discomfort 
to the mind, as far as they convey feelings at all. Expo- 
sure to the elements, social disorder and lawlessness, the 
tyranny of the powerful, and the inroads of enemies, are 
a stern discipline, allowing brief intervals, or awarding a 
sharp penance, to sloth and sensuality. The rude food, 
the scanty clothing, the violent exercise, the vagrant life, 
the military constraint, the imperfect pharmacy, which 
now are the trials of only particular classes of the 
community, were once the lot more or less of all. In the 
deep woods or the wild solitudes of the medieval era, 
feelings of religion or superstition were naturally pre- 
sent to the population, which in various ways co-operated 
with the missionary or pastor, in retaining it in a noble 
simplicity of manners. But, when in the advancement 

Knowledge and Religious Duly. 1 89 

of society men congregate in towns, and multiply in con- 
tracted spaces, and law gives them security, and art 
gives them comforts, and good government robs them of 
courage and manliness, and monotony of life throws 
them back upon themselves, who does not see that 
diversion or protection from evil they have none, that 
vice is the mere reaction of unhealthy toil, and sensual 
excess the holyday of resourceless ignorance ? This is 
so well understood by the practical benevolence of the 
day, that it has especially busied itself in plans for sup- 
plying the masses of our town population with intel- 
lectual and honourable recreations. Cheap literature, 
libraries of useful and entertaining knowledge, scientific 
lectureships, museums, zoological collections, buildings 
and gardens to please the eye and to give repose to the 
feeUngs, external objects of whatever kind, which may 
take the mind off itself, and expand and elevate it in 
liberal contemplations, these are the human means, wisely 
suggested, and good as far as they go, for at least parrying 
the assaults of moral evil, and keeping at bay the enemies, 
not only of the individual soul, but of society at large. 

Such are the instruments by which an age of advanced 
civilization combats those moral disorders, which Reason 
as well as Revelation denounces ; and I have not been 
backward to express my sense of their serviceableness 
to Religion. Moreover, they are but the foremost of a 
series of influences, which intellectual culture exerts 
upon our moral nature, and all upon the type of Chris- 
tianity, manifesting themselves in veracity, probity, 
equity, fairness, gentleness, benevolence, and amiable- 
ness ; so much so, that a character more noble to look 
at, more beautiful, more winning, in the various relations 
of life and in personal duties, is hardly conceivable, than 
may, or might be, its result, when that culture is bestowed 

igo Discourse VIII. 

upon a soil naturally adapted to virtue. If you would 
obtain a picture for contemplation which may seem to 
fulfil the ideal, which the Apostle has delineated under 
the name of charity, in its sweetness and harmony, its 
generosity, its courtesy to others, and its depreciation of 
self, you could not have recourse to a better furnished 
studio than to that of Philosophy, with the specimens of 
it, which with greater or less exactness are scattered 
through society in a civilized age. It is enough to refer 
you. Gentlemen, to the various Biographies and Remains 
of contemporaries and others, which from time to time 
issue from the press, to see how striking is the action of 
our intellectual upon our moral nature, where the moral 
material is rich, and the intellectual cast is perfect. 
Individuals will occur to all of us, who deservedly attract 
our love and admiration, and whom the world almost 
worships as the work of its own hands. Religious 
principle, indeed, — that is, faith, — is, to all appearance, 
simply away ; the work is as certainly not supernatural 
as it is certainly noble and beautiful. This must be 
insisted on, that the Intellect may have its due ; but 
it also must be insisted on for the sake of conclusions 
to which I wish to conduct our investigation. The 
radical difference indeed of this mental refinem.ent from 
genuine religion, in spite of its seeming relationship, is 
the very cardinal point on which my present discussion 
turns ; yet, on the other hand, such refinement may 
readily be assigned to a Christian origin by hasty or 
distant observers, or by those who view it in a particular 
light. And as this is the case, I think it advisable, 
before proceeding with the delineation of its character- 
istic features, to point out to you distinctly the elemen- 
tary principles on which its morality is based. 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 191 


You will bear in mind then, Gentlemen, that I spoke 
just now of the scorn and hatred which a cultivated mind 
feels for some kinds of vice, and the utter disgust and 
profound humiliation which may come over it, if it 
should happen in any degree to be betrayed into them. 
Now this feeling may have its root in faith and love, but 
it may not ; there is nothing really religious in it, con- 
sidered by itself. Conscience indeed is implanted in the 
breast by nature, but it inflicts upon us fear as well as 
shame ; when the mind is simply angry with itself and 
nothing more, surely the true import of the voice of 
nature and the depth of its intimations have been 
forgotten, and a false philosophy has misinterpreted 
emotions which ought to lead to God. Fear implies 
the transgression of a law, and a law implies a lawgiver 
and judge ; but the tendency of intellectual culture is to 
swallow up the fear in theself-reproacu, and self-reproach 
is directed and limited to our mere sense of what is fit- 
ting and becoming. Fear carries us out of ourselves, 
shame may act upon us only within the round of our 
own thoughts. Such, I say, is the danger which awaits 
a civilized age ; such is its besetting sin (not inevitable, 
God forbid ! or we must abandon the use of God's own 
gifts), but still the ordinary sin of the Intellect ; con- 
science tends to become what is called a moral sense ; 
the command of duty is a sort of taste ; sin is not an 
offence against God, but against human nature. 

The less amiable specimens of this spurious religion 
are those which we meet not unfrequently in my own 
country. I can use with all my heart the poet's words, 

" England, with all thy faults, I love tbee still ; " 

192 Discourse VIII. 

but to those faults no Catholic can be blind. We find 
there men possessed of many virtues, but proud, bashful, 
fastidious, and reserved. Why is this ? it is because 
they think and act as if there were really nothing 
objective in their religion ; it is because conscience to 
them is not the word of a lawgiver, as it ought to be, 
but the dictate of their own minds and nothing more ; 
it is because they do not look out of themselves, because 
they do not look through and beyond their own minds 
to their Maker, but are engrossed in notions of what is 
due to themselves, to their own dignity and their own 
consistency. Their conscience has become a mere self- 
respect. Instead of doing one thing and then another, 
as each is called for, in faith and obedience, careless of 
what may be called the keepbig of deed with deed, and 
leaving Him who gives the command to blend the por- 
tions of their conduct into a whole, their one object, 
however unconscious to themselves, is to paint a smooth 
and perfect surface, and to be able to say to themselves 
that they have done their duty. When they do wrong, 
they feel, not contrition, of which God is the object, but 
remorse, and a sense of degradation. They call them- 
selves fools, not sinners ; they are angry and impatient, 
not humble. They shut themselves up in themselves ; 
it is misery to them to think or to speak of their own 
feelings; it is misery to suppose that others see them, and 
their shyness and sensitiveness often become morbid. As 
to confession, which is so natural to the Catholic, to them 
it is impossible; unless indeed, in cases where they have 
been guilty, an apology is due to their own character, is 
expected of them, and will be satisfactory to look back 
upon. They are victims of an intense self-contemplation. 
There are, however, far more pleasing and interesting 
forms of this moral malady than that which I have been 

K7iowkdg€ and Religious Duty. 193 

depicting : I have spoken of the effect of intellectual 
culture on proud natures ; but it will show to greater 
advantage, yet with as little approximation to religious 
faith, in amiable and unaffected minds. Observe, Gentle- 
men, the heresy, as it may be called, of which I speak, 
is the substitution of a moral sense or taste for con- 
science in the true meaning of the word ; now this error 
may be the foundation of a character of far more 
elasticity and grace than ever adorned the persons whom 
I have been describing. It is especially congenial to men 
of an imaginative and poetical cast of mind, who will 
readily accept the notion that virtue is nothing more 
than the graceful in conduct. Such persons, far from 
tolerating fear, as a principle, in their apprehension of 
religious and moral truth, will not be slow to call it 
simply gloom and superstition. Rather a philosopher's, 
a gentleman's religion, is of a liberal and generous 
character ; it is based upon honour; vice is evil, because 
it is unworthy, despicable, and odious. This was the 
quarrel of the ancient heathen with Christianity, that, 
instead of simply fixing the mind on the fair and the 
pleasant, it intermingled other ideas with them of a sad 
and painful nature ; that it spoke of tears before joy, a 
cross before a crown ; that it laid the foundation of 
heroism in penance ; that it made the soul tremble with 
the news of Purgatory and Hell; that it insisted on views 
and a worship of the Deity, which to their minds was 
nothing else than mean, servile, and cowardly. The 
notion of an All-perfect, Ever-present God, in whose 
sight we are less than atoms, and who, while He deigns 
to visit us, can punish as well as bless, was abhorrent to 
them ; they made their own minds their sanctuary, their 
own ideas their oracle, and conscience in morals was but 
parallel to genius in art, and wisdom in philosophy. 

7* 13 

194 Discourse VIII. 


Had I room for all that might be said upon the subject, 
I might illustrate this intellectual religion from the history 
of the Emperor Julian, the apostate from Christian Truth, 
the foe of Christian education. He, in whom every 
Catholic sees the shadow of the future Anti-Christ, was 
all but the pattern-man of philosophical virtue. Weak 
points in his character he had, it is true, even in a merely 
poetical standard; but, take him all in all, and I cannot 
but recognize in him a specious beauty and nobleness of 
moral deportment, which combines in it the rude great- 
ness of Fabricius or Regulus with the accomplishments 
of Pliny or Antoninus. His simplicity of manners, his 
frugaUty, his austerity of life, his singular disdain of 
sensual pleasure, his military heroism, his application to 
business, his literary diligence, his modesty, his clemency, 
his accomplishments, as I view them, go to make him 
one of the most eminent specimens of pagan virtue 
which the world has ever seen.* Yet how shallow, how 
meagre, nay, how unamiable is that virtue after all, when 
brought upon its critical trial by his sudden summons 
into the presence of his Judge ! His last hours form a 
unique passage in history, both as illustrating the help- 
lessness of philosophy under the stern realities of our 

* I do not consider I have said above any thing inconsistent with the 
following passage from Cardinal Gerdil, though I have enlarged on the favour- 
able side of Julian's character. " Du genie, des connaissances, de I'habilite 
dans le metier de la guerre, du courage et du desinteressement dans le com- 
mandement des armees, des actions plutot que des qualites estimables, 
mais le plus souvent gatees par la vanite qui en etait le principe, la super- 
stition jointe a I'hypocrisie ; un esprit fecond en ressources eclaire, mais sus- 
ceptible de petitesse ; des fautes essentieiles dans le gouvernement ; des in- 
nocens sacrifies a la vengeance ; une haine envenimee contre le Christianisme, 
qu'il avait abandonne ; un attachement passionne aux folies de la Theurgie; 
tels etaient les trails sous lesquels on nous preignait Julien." Op. t. x. p. 54. 

Knowledge and Religious Duty, 195 

being, and as being reported to us on the evidence of an 
eye-witness. " Friends and fellow-soldiers," he said, to 
use the words of a writer, well fitted, both from his 
literary tastes and from his hatred of Christianity, to be 
his panegyrist, " the seasonable period of my departure 
is now arrived, and I discharge, with the cheerfulness of 
a ready debtor, the demands of nature .... I die with- 
out remorse, as I have lived without guilt. I am pleased 
to reflect on the innocence of my private life ; and I can 
affirm with confidence that the supreme authority, that 
emanation of the divine Power, has been preserved in 
my hands pure and immaculate ... I now ofier my 
tribute of gratitude to the Eternal Being, who has not 
suffered me to perish by the cruelty of a tyrant, by the 
secret dagger of conspiracy, or by the slow tortures of 
lingering disease. He has given me, in the midst of an 
honourable career, a splendid and glorious departure 
from this world, and I hold it equally absurd, equally 
base, to solicit, or to decline, the stroke of fate . . . 

" He reproved the immoderate grief of the spectators, 
and conjured them not to disgiace, by unmanly tears, 
the fate of a prince who in a few moments would be 
united with Heaven and with the stars. The spectators 
were silent; and Julian entered into a metaphysical 
argument with the philosophers Priscus and Maximus 
on the nature of the soul. The efforts which he made, 
of mind as well as body, most probably hastened his 
death. His wound began to bleed with great violence ; 
his respiration was embarrassed by the swelling of the 
veins ; he called for a draught of cold water, and as soon 
as he had drank it expired without pain, about the 
hour of midnight."* Such, Gentlemen, is the final 
txhibition of the Religion of Reason : in the insensibility 

* Gibbon, Hist., ch. 24. 

196 Discourse VIII. 

of conscience, in the ignorance of the very idea of sin, in 
the contemplation of his own moral consistency, in the 
simple absence of fear, in the cloudless self-confidence, 
in the serene self-possession, in the cold self-satisfaction, 
we recognize the mere Philosopher. 


Gibbon paints with pleasure what, conformably with 
the sentiments of a godless intellectualism, was an his- 
torical fulfilment of his own idea of moral perfection; 
Lord Shaftesbury had already drawn out that idea in a 
theoretical from, \\\ his celebrated collection of Treatises 
which he has called " Characteristics of men, manners, 
opinions, views ;" and it will be a further illustration of 
the subject before us, if you will allow me. Gentlemen, to 
make some extracts from this work. 

One of his first attacks is directed against the doctrine 
of reward and punishment, as if it introduced a notion 
into religion inconsistent with the true apprehension of 
the beauty of virtue, and with the liberality and noble- 
ness of spirit in which it should be pursued. " Men 
have not been content," he says, " to show the natural 
advantages of honesty and virtue. They have rather 
lessened these, the better, as they thought, to advance 
another foundation. They have made virtue so mer- 
cenary a thing, and have talked so much of its rewards, 
that one can hardly tell what there is in it, after all, which 
can be worth rewarding. For to be bribed only or 
terrified into an honest practice, bespeaks little of real 
honesty or worth." " If," he says elsewhere, insinuating 
what he dare not speak out, " if through hope merely of 
reward, or fear of punishment, the creature be inclined 
to do the good he hates, or restrained from doing the ill 
to wliich he is not otherwise in the least degree averse 

Knowledge and Religious Duty, 1 97 

there is in this case no virtue or goodness whatever. 
There is no more of rectitude, piety, or sanctity, in a 
creature thus reformed, than there is meekness or 
gentleness in a tiger strongly chained, or innocence and 
sobriety in a monkey under the discipline of the whip 
. . . . While the will is neither gained, nor the inclination 
wrought upon, but awe alone prevails and forces obedi- 
ence, the obedience is servile, and all which is done 
through it merely servile." That is, he says that 
Christianity is the enemy of moral virtue, as influencing 
the mind by fear of God, not by love of good. 

The motives then of hope and fear being, to say the 
least, put far into the background, and nothing being 
morally good but what springs simply or mainly from a 
love of virtue for its own sake, this love-inspiring quality 
in virtue is its beauty, while a bad conscience is not 
much more than the sort of feeling which makes us 
shrink from an instrument out of tune. " Some by mere 
nature," he says, " others by art and practice, are masters 
of an ear in music, an eye in painting, a fancy in the 
ordinary things of ornament and grace, a judgment in 
proportions of all kinds, and a general good taste in 
most of those subjects whicli make the amusement and 
delight of the ingenious people of the world. Let such 
gentlemen as these be as extravagant as they please, or 
as irregular in their morals, they must at the same time 
discover their inconsistency, live at variance with them- 
selves, and in contradiction to that principle on which 
they ground their highest pleasure and entertainment. 
Of all other beauties which virtuosos pursue, poets 
celebrate, musicians sing, and architects or artists of 
whatever kind describe or form, the most delightful, 
the most engaging and pathetic, is that which is drawn 
from real life and from the passions. Nothing affects 

198 Discourse VIII. 

the heart hke that which is purely from itself, and 
of its own nature : such as the beauty of sentiments, 
the grace of actions, the turn of characters, and the 
proportions and features of a human mind. This lesson 
of philosophy, even a romance, a poem, or a play may 
teach us ... . Let poets or the men of harmony deny, 
if they can, this force of nature, or withstand this moral 
magic .... Every one is a virtuoso of a higher or 
lower degree ; every one pursues a grace ... of one 
kind or other. The venustum, the honestum, the decorum 
of things will force its way .... The most natural 
beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth ; for all 
beauty is truth," 

Accordingly, virtue being only one kind of beauty, the 
principle which determines what is virtuous is, not con- 
science, but taste. " Could we once convince ourselves," 
he says, " of what is in itself so evident, viz., that in the 
very nature of things there must of necessity be the 
foundation of a right and wrong taste, as well in respect 
of inward character of features as of outward person, be- 
haviour, and action, we should be far more ashamed of 
ignorance and wrong judgment in the former than in 
the latter of these subjects .... One who aspires to the 
character of a man of breeding and politeness is careful 
to form his judgment of arts and sciences upon right 
models of perfection .... He takes particular care to 
turn his eye from every thing which is gaudy, luscious, 
and of false taste. Nor is he less careful to turn his ear 
from every sort of music, besides that which is of the 
best manner and truest harmony. 'Twere to be wished 
we had the same regard to a rig/it taste in life a?id 
-manners .... If civility and humanity be a taste ; if 
brutality, insolence, riot, be in the same manner a taste, 
.... who would not endeavour to force nature as well 

Knowledge arid Religious Duty. 199 

in this respect as in what relates to a taste or judgment 
in other arts and sciences ?" 

Sometimes he distinctly contrasts this taste with prin- 
ciple and conscience, and gives it the preference over 
them. "After all," he says, "*tis not merely what we 
call principle, but a taste, which governs men. They 
may think for certain, ' This is right,' or * that wrong ; ' 
they may believe * this is a virtue,' or ' that a sin ; ' ' this 
is punishable by man,* or ' that by God ; ' yet if the 
savour of things lies cross to honesty, if the fancy be 
florid, and the appetite high towards the subaltern 
beauties and lower orders of worldly symmetries and 
proportions, the conduct will infallibly turn this latter 
way." Thus, somewhat like a Jansenist, he makes the 
superior pleasure infallibly conquer, and implies that, 
neglecting principle, we have but to train the taste to a 
kind of beauty higher than sensual. He adds: ^^ Even 
conscience, I fear, such as is owing to religious discipline, 
will make but a slight figure, when this taste is set 

And hence the well-known doctrine of this author, 
that ridicule is the test of truth ; for truth and virtue 
being beauty, and falsehood and vice deformity, and the 
feeling inspired by deformity being that of derision, as 
that inspired by beauty is admiration, it follows that 
vice is not a thing to weep about, but to laugh at. 
" Nothing is ridiculous," he says, " but what is deformed ; 
nor is any thing proof against raillery but what is hand- 
some and just. And therefore 'tis the hardest thing in 
the world to deny fair honesty the use of this weapon, 
which can never bear an edge against herself, and bears 
against every thing contrary." 

And hence again, conscience, which intimates a Law- 
giver, being superseded by a moral taste or sentiment. 

2CX> Discourse VIII. 

which has no sanction beyond the constitution of our 
nature, it follows that our great rule is to contemplate 
ourselves, if we would gain a standard of life and morals. 
Thus he has entitled one of his Treatises a " Soliloquy," 
with the motto, " Nee te quaesiveris extra ; " and he 
observes, " The chief interest of ambition, avarice, 
corruption, and every sly insinuating vice, is to prevent 
this interview and familiarity of discourse, which is 
consequent upon close retirement and inward recess. 
"Tis the grand artifice of villainy and lewdness, as well 
as of superstition and bigotry, to put us upon terms of 
greater distance and formality with ourselves, and evade 
our proving method of soliloquy .... A passionate 
lover, whatever solitude he may affect, can never be truly 
by himself .... 'Tis the same reason which keeps the 
imaginary saint or mystic from being capable of this 
entertainment. Instead of looking narrowly into his own 
nature and mind, that he may be no longer a mystery to 
himself, he is taken up with the contemplation of other 
mysterious natures, which he never can explain or 


Taking these passages as specimens of what I call the 
Religion of Philosophy, it is obvious to observe that 
there is no doctrine contained in them which is not in a 
certain sense true ; yet, on the other hand, that almost 
every statement is perverted and made false, because it 
is not the whole truth. They are exhibitions of truth 
under one aspect, and therefore insufficient ; conscience 
is most certainly a moral sense, but it is more ; vice 
again, is a deformity, but it is worse. Lord Shaftesbury 
may insist, if he will, that simple and solitary fear cannot 
effect a moral conversion, and we are not concerned to 

Knowledge a7id Religious Duty. 201 

answer him ; but he will have a difficulty in proving that 
any real conversion follows from a doctrine which makes 
virtue a mere point of good taste, and vice vulgar and 

Such a doctrine is essenti:Ally superficial, and such will 
be its effects. It has no better measure of right and 
wrong than that of visible beauty and tangible fitness. 
Conscience indeed inflicts an acute pang, but that pang, 
forsooth, is irrational, and to reverence it is an illiberal 
superstition. But, if we will make light of what is deepest 
within us, nothing is left but to pay homage to what is 
more upon the surface. To seem becomes to be ; what 
looks fair will be good, what causes offence will be evil ; 
virtue will be what pleases, vice what pains. As well 
may we measure virtue by utility as by such a rule. 
Nor is this an imaginary apprehension ; we all must 
recollect the celebrated sentiment into which a great and 
wise man was betrayed, in the glowing eloquence of his 
valediction to the spirit of chivalry. " It is gone," cries 
Mr. Burke ; "that sensibility of principle, that chastity 
of honour, which felt a stain like a wound ; which inspired 
courage, while it mitigated ferocity; which ennobled 
whatever it touched, and under which vice lost half its 
evil by losing all its grossness." In the last clause of this 
beautiful sentence we have too apt an illustration of the 
ethical temperament of a civilized age. It is detection, 
not the sin, which is the crime ; private life is sacred, 
and inquiry into it is intolerable ; and decency is virtue. 
Scandals, vulgarities, whatever shocks, whatever disgusts, 
are offences of the first order. Drinking and swearing, 
squalid poverty, improvidence, laziness, slovenly disorder, 
make up the idea of profligacy : poets may say any 
thing, however wicked, with impunity ; works of genius 
may be read without danger or shame, whatever their 

202 Discourse VIII. 

principles ; fashion, celebrity, the beautiful, the heroic, 
will suffice to force any evil upon the community. The 
splendours of a court, and the charms of good society, 
wit, imagination, taste, and high breeding, the prestige 
of rank, and the resources of wealth, are a screen, an 
instrument, and an apology for vice and irreligion. And 
thus at length we find, surprising as the change may be, 
that that very refinement of Intellectualism, which began 
by repelling sensuality, ends by excusing it. Under the 
shadow indeed of the Church, and in its due development, 
Philosophy does service to the cause of morality ; but, 
when it is strong enough to have a will of its own, and is 
lifted up with an idea of its own importance, and attempts 
to form a theory, and to lay down a principle, and to 
carry out a system of ethics, and undertakes the moral 
education of the man, then it does but abet evils to 
which at first it seemed instinctively opposed. True 
Religion is slow in growth, and, when once planted, is 
difficult of dislodgement ; but its intellectual counterfeit 
has no root in itself : it springs up suddenly, it suddenly 
withers. It appeals to what is in nature, and it falls 
under the dominion of the old Adam. Then, like 
dethroned princes, it keeps up a state and majesty, 
when it has lost the real power. Deformity is its abhor- 
rence ; accordingly, since it cannot dissuade men from 
vice, therefore in order to escape the sight of its deformity, 
it embellishes it. It " skins and films the ulcerous 
place," which it cannot probe or heal, 

" Whiles rank corruption, mining all within, 
Infects unseen." 

And from this shallowness of philosophical Religion 
it comes to pass that its disciples seem able to fulfil certain 
precepts of Christianity more readily and exactly than 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 203 

Christians themselves. St. Paul, as I have said, gives us 
a pattern of evangelical perfection ; he draws the Chris- 
tian character in its most graceful form, and its most 
beautiful hues. He discourses of that charity which is 
patient and meek^ humble and single-minded, disinter- 
ested, contented, and persevering. He tells us to prefer 
each the other before himself, to give way to each other, 
to abstain from rude words and evil speech, to avoid self- 
conceit, to be calm and grave, to be cheerful and happy, to 
observe peace with all men, truth and justice, courtesy and 
gentleness, all that is modest, amiable, virtuous, and ol 
good repute. Such is St. Paul's exemplar of the Chris- 
tian in his external relations ; and, I repeat, the school of 
the world seems to send out living copies of this typical 
excellence with greater success than the Church. At 
this day the " gentleman " is the creation, not of Chris- 
tianity, but of civilization. But the reason is obvious. 
The world is content with setting right the surface of 
things ; the Church aims at regenerating the very depths 
of the heart. She ever begins with the beginning ; and, 
as regards the multitude of her children, is never able 
to get beyond the beginning, but is continually employed 
in laying the foundation. She is engaged with what is 
essential, as previous and as introductory to the orna- 
mental and the attractive. She is curing men and keep- 
ing them clear of mortal sin ; she is " treating of justice 
and chastity, and the judgment to come:" she is insist- 
ing on faith and hope, and devotion, and honesty, 
and the elements of charity; and has so much to do with 
precept, that she almost leaves it to inspirations from 
Heaveu to suggest what is of counscil and perfection. 
She aims at what is necessary rather than at what is de- 
sirable. She is for the many as well as tor the few. She 
is putting souls in the way of salvation, that they may 

204 Discourse VIIT. 

then be in a condition, if they shall be called upon, to 
aspire to the heroic, and to attain the full proportions, as 
well as the rudiments, of the beautiful. 


Such is the method, or the policy (so to call it), of the 
Church ; but Philosophy looks at the matter from a very 
difierent point of view : what have Philosophers to do 
with the terror of judgment or the saving of the soul ? 
Lord Shaftesbury calls the former a sort of " panic fear." 
Of the latter he scoffingly complains that "the saving of 
souls is now the heroic passion of exalted spirits." Of 
course he is at liberty, on his principles, to pick and 
choose out of Christianity what he will ; he discards the 
theological, the mysterious, the spiritual ; he makes 
selection of the morally or esthetically beautiful. To 
him it matters not at all that he begins his teaching 
where he should end it ; it matters not that, instead of 
planting the tree, he merely crops its flowers for his ban- 
quet ; he only aims at tiie present life, his philosophy 
dies with him ; if his flowers do but last to the end of 
his revel, he has nothing more to seek. When night 
comes, the withered leaves may be mingled with his own 
ashes ; he and they will have done their work, he and 
they will be no more. Certainly, it costs little to make 
men virtuous on conditions such as these ; it is like 
teaching them a language or an accomplishment, to 
write Latin or to play on an instrument, — the profession 
of an artist, not the commission of an Apostle. 

This embellishment of the exterior is almost the be- 
ginning and the end of philosophical morality. This is 
why it aims at being modest rather than humble ; this 
is how it can be proud at the very time that it is unas- 
suming. To humility indeed it docs not even aspire; 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 205 

humility is one of the most difficult of virtues both to 
attain and to ascertain. It lies close upon the heart 
itself, and its tests are exceedingly delicate and subtle. 
Its counterfeits abound ; however, wearelittle concerned 
with them here, for, I repeat, it is hardly professed even 
by name in the code of ethics which we are reviewing. 
As has been often observed, ancient civilization had 
not the idea, and had no word to express it : or rather, 
it had the idea, and considered it a defect of mind, not 
a virtue, so that the word which denoted it conveyed a 
reproach. As to the modern world, you may gather its 
ignorance of it by its perversion of the somewhat 
parallel term "condescension." Humility or condescen- 
sion, viewed as a virtue of conduct, may be said to con- 
sist, as in other things, so in our placing ourselves in our 
thoughts on a level with our inferiors ; it is not only a 
voluntary relinquishment of the privileges of our own 
station, but an actual participation or assumption of the 
condition of those to whom we stoop. This is true 
humility, to feel and to behave as if we were low; not, to 
cherish a notion of our importance, while we affect a low 
position. Such was St. Paul's humility, when he called 
himself " the least of the saints;" such the humility of 
those many holy men who have considered themselves 
the greatest of sinners. It is an abdication, as far as their 
own thoughts are concerned, of those prerogatives or 
privileges to which others deem them entitled. Now it is 
not a httle instructive to contrast with this idea, Gentle- 
men, — with this theoloi^ical meaning of the word " con- 
descension," — its proper English sense ; put them in 
juxta-position, and you will at once see the difference 
beween the world's humility and the humility of the 
Gospel. As the world uses the word, " condescension" 
is a stooping indeed of the person, but a bending for- 

2o6 Discourse VIII. 

ward, unattended with any the sHf];htest effort to leave by 
a single inch the seat in which it is so firmly established. 
It is the act of a superior, who protests to himself, while 
he commits it, that he is superior still, and that he is doing 
nothing else but an act of grace towards those on whose 
level, in theory, he is placing himself. And this is the 
nearest idea which the philosopher can form of the virtue 
of self-abasement ; to do more than this is to his mind a 
meanness or an hypocrisy, and at once excites his sus- 
picion and disgust. What the world is, such it has ever 
been ; we know the contempt which the educated pagans 
had for the martyrs and confessors of the Church ; and 
it is shared by the anti-Catholic bodies of this day. . 

Such are the ethics of Philosophy, when faithfully re- 
presented ; but an age like this, not pagan, but profes- 
sedly Christian, cannot venture to reprobate humility in 
set terms, or to make a boast of pride. Accordmgly, it 
looks out for some expedient by which it may blind 
itself to the real state of the case. Humility, with 
its grave and self-denying attributes, it cannot love ; 
but what is more beautiful, what more winning, than 
modesty.-* what virtue, at first sight, simulates humility 
so well ? though what in fact is more radically distinct 
from it .'* In truth, great as is its charm, modesty is not 
the deepest or the most religious of virtues. Rather it is 
the advanced guard or sentinel of the soul militant, and 
watches continually over its nascent intercourse with the 
world about it. It goes the round of the senses ; it 
mounts up into the countenance ; it protects the eye and 
ear; it reigns in the voice and gesture. Its province is 
the outward deportment, as other virtues have relation 
to matters theological, others to society, and others to 
the mind itself. And being more superficial than other 
virtues, it is more easily disjoined from their company ; it 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 207 

admits of being- associated with principles or qualities 
naturally foreign to it, and is often made the cloak of 
feelings or ends for which it was never given to us. So 
little is it the necessary index of humility, that it is even 
compatible with pride. The better for the purpose of 
Philosophy ; humble it cannot be, so forthwith modesty 
becomes its humility. 

Pride, under such training, instead of running to waste 
in the education of the mind, is turned to account ; it 
gets a new name ; it is called self-respect ; and ceases to 
be the disagreeable, uncompanionable quality which it is 
in itself Though it be the motive principle of the soul, 
it seldom comes to view ; and when it shows itself, then 
delicacy and gentleness are its attire, and good sense 
and sense of honour direct its motions. It is no longer 
a restless agent, without definite aim ; it has a large field 
of exertion assigned to it, and it subserves those social 
interests which it would naturally trouble. It is directed 
into the channel of industry, frugality, honesty, and obe- 
dience ; and it becomes the very staple of the religion 
and morality held in honour in a day like our own. It 
becomes the safeguard of chastity, the guarantee of vera- 
city, in high and low ; it is the very household god of 
society, as at present constituted, inspiring neatness and 
decency in the servant girl, propriety of carriage and re- 
fined manners in "her mistress, uprightness, manliness, and 
generosity in the head of the family. It diffuses a light 
over town and country ; it covers the soil with handsome 
edifices and smiling gardens ; it tills the field, it stocks 
and embellishes the shop. It is the stimulating principle 
of providence on the one hand, and of free expenditure on 
the other; of an honourable ambition, and of elegant en- 
joyment. It breathes upon the faceof the community, and 
the hollow sepulchre is forthwith beautiful to look upon. 

2o8 Duron rse VI I L 

Refined by the civilization which has brought it into 
activity, this self-respect infuses into the mind an intense 
horror of exposure, and a keen sensitiveness of notoriety 
and ridicule. It becomes the enemy of extravagances of 
any kind ; it shrinks from what are called scenes ; it has 
no mercy on the mock-heroic, on pretence or egotism, on 
verbosity in language, or what is called prosiness in con- 
versation. It detests gross adulation ; not that it tends 
at all to the eradication of the appetite to which the 
flatterer ministers, but it sees the absurdity of indulging 
it, it understands the annoyance thereby given to others, 
and if a tribute must be paid to the wealthy or the power- 
ful, it demands greater subtlety and art in the prepara- 
tion. Thus vanity is changed into a more dangerous 
self-conceit, as being checked in its natural eruption. 
It teaches men to suppress their feelings, and to control 
their tempers, and to mitigate both the severity and the 
tone of their judgments. As Lord Shaftesbury would 
desire, it prefers playful wit and satire in putting down 
what is objectionable, as a more refined and good- 
natured, as well as a more effectual method, than the 
expedient which is natural to uneducated minds. It is 
from this impatience of the tragic and the bombastic 
that it is now quietly but energetically opposing itself to 
the unchristian practice of duelling, which it brands as 
simply out of taste, and as the remnant of a barbarous 
age ; and certainly it seems likely to effect what Religion 
has aimed at abolishing in vain. 

Hence it is that it is almost a definition of a gentle- 
man to say he is one who never inflicts pain. Thi* 
description is both refined and, as far as it goes, ac 
curate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the 

Kfiowledge and Religious Duty. 20Q 

obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed 
action of those about him ; and he concurs with their 
movements rather than takes the initiative himself. His 
benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called 
comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal 
nature : like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their 
part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature pro- 
vides both means of rest and animal heat without them. 
The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids 
whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of tho.«;e 
with whom he is cast ; — all clashing of opinion, or 
collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, 
or resentment ; his great concern being to make every 
one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all 
his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle 
towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd ; 
he can recollect to whom he is speaking ; he guards 
against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may 
irritate ; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and 
never wearisome. He makes light of favours while he 
does them, and seems to be receiving when he is con- 
ferring. He never speaks of himself except when com- 
pelled, never defends himself by a mere retort, he has no 
ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing 
motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets 
every thing for the best. He is never mean or little in 
his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mis- 
takes personalities or sharp sayinj^s for arguments, or in- 
sinuates evil which he dare not say out. From a long- 
sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient 
sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our 
enemy as if he were one day to be our friend. He has 
too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too 
well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to 
7- 14 

2IO Discourse VIII. 

bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on 
philosophical principles ; he submits to pain, because it 
is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, 
and to death, because it is his destiny. If he engages in 
controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves 
him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, 
but less educated minds ; who, like blunt weapons, 
tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the 
point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, mis- 
conceive their adversary, and leave the question more 
involved than they find it. He may be right or wrong 
in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust ; 
he is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is 
decisive. Nowhere shall we find greater candour, con- 
sideration, indulgence : he throws himself into the minds 
of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes. He 
knows the weakness of human reason as well as its 
strength, its province and its limits. If he be an un- 
believer, he will be too profound and large-minded to 
ridicule religion or to act against it ; he is too wise to be 
a dogmatist or fanatic in his infidelity. He respects piety 
and devotion ; he even supports institutions as vene- 
rable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent ; 
he honours the ministers of religion, and it contents 
him to decline its mysteries without assailing or de- 
nouncing them. He is a friend of religious toleration, 
and that, not only because his philosophy has taught 
him to look on all forms of faith with an impartial eye, 
but also from the gentleness and effeminacy of feeling, 
which is the attendant on civilization. 

Not that he may not hold a religion too, in his own 
way, even when he is not a Christian. In that case his 
religion is one of imagination and sentiment ; it is the 
embodiment of those ideas of the sublime, majestic. 

Knowledge and Religious Duty. 2 1 1 

Tind beautiful, without which there can be no large 
philosophy. Sometimes he acknowledges the being of 
God, sometimes he invests an unknown principle or 
quality with the attributes of perfection. And this de- 
•^uction of his reason, or creation of his fancy, he makes 
the occasion of such excellent thoughts, and the start- 
ing-point of so varied and systematic a teaching, that he 
even seems like a disciple of Christianity itself. From 
the very accuracy and steadiness of his logical powers, 
he is able to see what sentiments are consistent in those 
who hold any religious doctrine at all, and he appears to 
others to feel and to hold a who'.e circle of theological 
truths, which exist in his mind no otherwise than as a 
number of deductions. 

Such are some of the lineaments of the ethical charac- 
ter, which the cultivated intellect will form, apart from 
religious principle. They are seen within the pale of the 
Church and without it, in holy men, and in profligate ; 
they form the beau-ideal of the world ; they partly assist 
and partly distort the development of the Catholic. 
They may subserve the education of a St. Francis de 
Sales or a Cardinal Pole ; they may be the limits of the 
contemplation of a Shaftesbury or a Gibbon. Basil and 
Julian were fellow-students at the schools of Athens; 
and one became the Saint and Doctor of the Church, the 
other her scoffing and relentless foe. 




I HAVE to congratulate myself, Gentlemen, that at 
length I have accomplished, with whatever success, 
the difficult and anxious undertaking to which I have 
been immediately addressing myself. Difficult and 
anxious it has been in truth, though the main subject of 
University Teaching has been so often and so ably dis- 
cussed already ; for I have attempted to follow out a line 
of thought more familiar to Protestants just now than 
to Catholics, upon Catholic grounds, I declared my 
intention, when I opened the subject, of treating it as a 
philosophical and practical, rather than as a theological 
question, with an appeal to common sense, not to 
ecclesiastical rules ; and for this very reason, while my 
argument has been less ambitious, it has been deprived of 
the lights and supports which another mode of handling 
it would have secured. 

No anxiety, no effort of mind is more severe than 
his, who in a difficult matter has it seriously at heart 
to investigate without error and to instruct without 
obscurity ; as to myself, if the past discussion has at any 
time tried the patience of the kind persons who have 
given it their attention, I can assure them that on no 
one can it have inflicted so great labour and fatigue as 

Dtities nf the Church Towards Knowledge. 2 1 3 

on myself. Happy they who are engaged in provinces 
of thought, so famiharly traversed and so thoroughly 
explored, that they see every where the footprints, the 
paths, the landmarks, and the remains of former tra- 
vellers, and can never step wrong ; but for myself, 
Gentlemen, I have felt like a navigator on a strange sea, 
who is out of sight of land, is surprised by night, and has 
to trust mainly to the rules and instruments of his science 
for reaching the port. The everlasting mountains, the 
high majestic cliffs, of the opposite coast, radiant in the 
sunlight, which are our ordinary guides, fail us in an 
excursion such as this ; the lessons of antiquity, the 
determinations of authority, are here rather the needle, 
chart, and plummet, than great objects, with distinct and 
continuous outlines and completed details, which stand 
up and confront and occupy our gaze, and relieve us 
from the tension and suspense of our personal obser- 
vation. And thus, in spite of the pains we may take 
to consult others and avoid mistakes, it is not till the 
morning comes and the shore greets us, and we see our 
vessel making straight for harbour, that we relax our 
jealous watch, and consider anxiety irrational. Such in 
a measure has been my feeling in the foregoing inquiry; 
in which indeed 1 have been in want neither of authori- 
tative principles nor distinct precedents, but of treatises 
in extensu on the subject on which I have written, — the 
finished work of writers, who, by their acknowledged 
judgment and erudition, might furnish me for my private 
guidance with a running instruction on each point which 
successively came under review. 

1 have spoken of the arduousness of my "immediate" 
undertaking, because what 1 have been attempting has 
been of a preliminary nature, not contemplating the 
duties of the Church towards a University, nor the 

2 14 Discourse IX. 

characteristics of a University which is Catholic, but 
inquiring what a University is, what is its aim, what its 
nature, what its bearings. I have accordingly laid down 
first, that all branches of knowledge are, at least im- 
plicitly, the subject-matter of its teaching ; that these 
branches are not isolated and independent one of an- 
other, but form together a whole or system ; that they 
run into each other, and complete each other, and that, 
in proportion to our view of them as a whole, is the 
exactness and trustworthiness of the knowledge which 
they separately convey ; that the process of imparting 
knowledge to the intellect in this philosophical way is 
its true culture ; that such culture is a good in itself ; that 
the knowledge which is both its instrument and result is 
called Liberal Knowledge ; that such culture, together 
with the knowledge which effects it, may fitly be sought 
for its own sake ; that it is, however, in addition, of great 
secular utility, as constituting the best and highest for- 
mation of the intellect for social and political life ; and 
lastly, that, considered in a religious aspect, it concurs 
with Christianity a certain way, and then diverges from 
it; and consequently proves in the event, sometimes its 
serviceable ally, sometimes, from its very resemblance to 
it, an insidious and dangerous foe. 

Though, however, these Discourses have only pro- 
fessed to be preliminary, being directed to the investiga- 
tion of the object and nature of the Education which a 
University professes to impart, at the same time I do not 
like to conclude without making some remarks upon the 
duties of the Church towards it, or rather on the ground 
of those duties. If the Catholic Faith is true, a Univer- 
sity cannot exist externally to the Catholic pale, for it 
cannot teach Universal Knowledge if it does not teach 
Catholic theology. This is certain ; but still, though it 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 2 1 5 

had ever so many theological Chairs, that would not 
suffice to make it a Catholic University ; for theology 
would be included in its teaching only as a branch of 
knowledge, only as one out of many constituent portions, 
however important a one, of what I have called Philos- 
ophy. Hence a direct and active jurisdiction of the 
Church over it and in it is necessary, lest it should be- 
come the rival of the Church with the community at 
large in those theological matters which to the Church 
are exclusively committed, — acting as the representative 
of the intellect, as the Church is the representative of the 
religious principle. The illustration of this proposition 
shall be the subject of my concluding Discourse. 

I say then, that, even though the case could be so 
that the whole system of Catholicism was recognized and 
professed, without the direct presence of the Church, 
still this would not at once make such a University a 
Catholic Institution, nor be sufficient to secure the due 
weight of religious considerations in its philosophical 
studies. For it may easily happen that a particular 
bias or drift may characterize an Institution, which no 
rules can reach, nor officers remedy, nor professions 
or promises counteract. We have an instance of such 
a case in the Spanish Inquisition ; — here was a purely 
Catholic establishment, devoted to the maintenance, or 
rather the ascendancy of Catholicism, keenly zealous for 
theological truth, the stern foe of every anti-Catholic 
idea, and administered by Catholic theologians ; yet it 
in no proper sense belonged to the Church. It was 
simply and entirely a State institution, it was an expres- 
sion of that very Church-and-King spirit which has pre- 
vailed in these islands ; nay. it was an instrument of the 

2 1 6 Discourse IX. 

State, according to the confession of the acutest Protes- 
tant historians, in its warfare against the Holy See. Con- 
sidered " materially," it was nothing but CathoUc ; but 
its spirit and form were earthly and secular, in spite of 
whatever faith and zeal and sanctity and charity were to 
be found in the individuals who from time to time had a 
share in its administration. And in like manner, it is no 
sufficient security for the Catholicity of a University, 
even that the whole of Catholic theology should be pro- 
fessed in it, unless the Church breathes her own pure and 
unearthly spirit into it, and fashions and moulds its 
organization, and watches over its teaching, and knits 
together its pupils, and superintends its action. The 
Spanish Inquisition came into collision with the supreme 
Catholic authority, and that, from the fact that its imme- 
diate end was of a secular character ; and for the same 
reason, whereas Academical Institutions (as I have been 
so long engaged in showing) are in their very nature 
directed to social, national, temporal objects in the first 
instance, and since they are living and energizing bodies, 
if they deserve the name of University at all, and of 
necessity have some one formal and definite ethical cha- 
racter, good or bad, and do of a certainty imprint that 
character on the individuals who direct and who frequent 
them, it cannot but be that, if left to themselves, they 
will, in spite of their profession of Catholic Truth, work 
out results more or less prejudicial to its interests. 

Nor is this all : such Institutions may become hostile 
to Revealed Truth, in consequence of the circumstances 
of their teaching as well as of their end. They are em- 
ployed in the pursuit of Liberal Knowledge, and Liberal 
Knowledge has a special tendency, not necessary or 
rightful, but a tendency in fact, when cultivated by 
beings such as we are. to impress us with a mere philo- 

Duiies of the Church Towards K710W ledge. 217 

sophical theory of life and conduct, in the place of 
Revelation. I have said much on this subject already. 
Truth has two attributes — beauty and power ; and 
while Useful Knowledge is the possession of truth as 
powerful, Liberal Knowledge is the apprehension of it as 
beautiful. Pursue it, either as beauty or as power, to its 
furthest extent and its true limit, and you are led by 
either road to the Eternal and Infinite, to the intimations 
of conscience and the announcements of the Church. 
Satisfy yourself with what is only visibly or intelligibly 
excellent, as you are likely to do, and you will make 
present utility and natural beauty the practical test of 
truth, and the sufficient object of the intellect. It is not 
that you will at once reject Catholicism, but you will 
measure and proportion it by an earthly standard. You 
will throw its highest and most momentous disclosures 
into the background, you will deny its principles, explain 
away its doctrines, re-arrange its precepts, and make 
light of its practices, even while you profess it. Know- 
ledge, viewed as Knowledge, exerts a subtle influence in 
throwing us back on ourselves, and making us our own 
centre, and our minds the measure of all things. This 
then is the tendency of that Liberal Education, of which 
a University is the school, viz,, to view Revealed Reli- 
gion from an aspect of its own, — to fuse and recast it, 

to tune it, as it were, to a different key, and to reset its 
harmonies, — to circumscribe it by a circle which unwar- 
rantably amputates here, and unduly dcvelopes there ; 
and all under the notion, con.scious or unconscious, 
that the human intellect, self-educated and self-sup- 
ported, is more true and perfect in its ideas and judg- 
ments than that of Prophets and Apostles, to whom the 
sights and sounds of Heaven were immediately con- 
veyed. A sense of propriety, order, consistency, and 

2 1 8 Discourse IX, 

completeness gives birth to a rebellious stirring against 
miracle and mystery, against the severe and the terrible. 

This Intellectualism first and chiefly comes into colli- 
sion with precept, then with doctrine, then with the very 
principle of dogmatism ; — a perception of the Beautiful 
becomes the substitute for faith. In a country which 
does not profess the faith, it at once runs, if allowed, into 
scepticism or infidelity ; but even within the pale of the 
Church, and with the most unqualified profession of her 
Creed, it acts, if left to itself, as an element of corrup- 
tion and debility. Catholicism, as it has come down to 
us from the first, seems to be mean and illiberal ; it is a 
mere popular religion ; it is the religion of illiterate ages 
or servile populations or barbarian warriors ; it must 
be treated with discrimination and delicacy, corrected, 
softened, improved, if it is to satisfy an enlightened 
generation. It must be stereotyped as the patron of 
arts, or the pupil of speculation, or the protege of science; 
it must play the literary academician, or the empirical 
philanthropist, or the political partisan ; it must keep 
up with the age ; some or other expedient it must devise, 
in order to explain away, or to hide, tenets under which 
the intellect labours and of which it is ashamed — its doc- 
trine, for instance, of grace, its mystery of the Godhead, 
its preaching of the Cross, its devotion to the Queen of 
Saints, or its loyalty to the Apostolic See, Let this 
spirit be freely evolved out of that philosophical condition 
of mind, which in former Discourses I have so highly, 
so justly extolled, and it is impossible but, first indiffer- 
ence, then laxity of belief, then even heresy will be the 
successive results. 

Here then are two injuries which Revelation is likely 
to sustain at the hands of the Masters of human reason, 
unless the Church, as in duty bound, protects the sacred 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 219 

treasure which is in jeopardy. The first is a simple 
ignoring of Theological Truth altogether, under the pre- 
tence of not recognising differences of religious opinion ; 
— which will only take place in countries or under govern- 
ments which have abjured Catholicism. The second, 
which is of a more subtle character, is a recognition indeed 
of Catholicism, but (as if in pretended mercy to it) an 
adulteration of its spirit. I will now proceed to describe 
the dangers I speak of more distinctly, by a reference 
to the general subject-matter of instruction which a 
University undertakes. 

There are three great subjects on which Human Reason 
employs itself: — God, Nature, and Man : and theology 
being put aside in the present argument, the physical 
and social worlds remain. These, when respectively sub- 
jected to Human Reason, form two books : the book 
of nature is called Science, the book of man is called 
Literature. Literature and Science, thus considered, 
nearly constitute the subject-matter of Liberal Educa- 
tion ; and, while Science is made to subserve the former 
of the two injuries, which Revealed Truth sustains, — its 
exclusion, Literature subserves the latter, — its corruption. 
Let us consider the influence of each upon Religion 


L As to Physical Science, of course there can be no 
real collision between it and Catholicism. Nature and 
Grace, Reason and Revelation, come from the same 
Divine Author, whose works cannot contradict each 
other. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that, in matter 
of fact, there always has been a sort of jealousy and 
hostility between Religion and physical philosophers. 
The name of Galileo reminds us of it at once. Not con- 

2 20 Discourse IX. 

tent with investigating and reasoning in his own province, 
it is said, he went out of his way directly to insult the 
received interpretation of Scripture ; theologians repelled 
an attack which was wanton and arrogant ; and Science, 
affronted in her minister, has taken its full revenge upon 
Theology since. A vast multitude of its teachers, I fear 
it must be said, have been either unbelievers or sceptics, 
or at least have denied to Christianity any teaching, 
distinctive or special, over the Religion of Nature, There 
have indeed been most illustrious exceptions ; some men 
protected by their greatness of mind, some by their 
religious profession, some by the fear of public opinion ; 
but I suppose the run of experimentalists, external to 
the Catholic Church, have more or less inherited the 
positive or negative unbelief of Laplace, Buffon, Franklin, 
Priestley, Cuvier, and Humboldt. I do not of course 
mean to say that there need be in every case a resentful 
and virulent opposition made to Religion on the part of 
scientific men; but their emphatic silence or phlegmatic 
inadvertence as to its claims have implied, more elo- 
quently than any words, that in their opinion it had no 
voice at all in the subject-matter, which they had ap- 
propriated to themselves. The same antagonism shows 
itself in the middle ages. Friar Bacon was popularly 
regarded with suspicion as a dealer in unlawful arts ; 
Pope Sylvester the Second has been accused of magic 
for his knowledge of natural secrets ; and the geographical 
ideas of St. Virgil, Bishop of Saltzburg, were regarded 
with anxiety by the great St. Boniface, the glory of 
England, the Martyr-Apostle ol Germany. I suppose, 
in matter of fact, magical superstition and physical 
knowledge did commonly go together in those ages : 
however, the hostility between experimental science and 
theology is far older than Christianity. Lord Bacon 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 221 

traces it to an era prior to Socrates ; he tells us that, 
among the Greeks, the atheistic was the philosophy most 
favourable to physical discoveries, and he does not hesi- 
tate to imply that the rise of the religious schools was the 
ruin of science.* 

Now, if we would investigate the reason of this oppo- 
sition between Theology and Physics, I suppose we must 
first take into account Lord Bacon's own explanation of 
it. It is common in judicial inquiries to caution the 
parties on whom the verdict depends to put out of their 
minds whatever they have heard out of court on the sub- 
ject to which their attention is to be directed. They are to 
judge by the evidence ; and this is a rule which holds in 
other investigations as far as this, that nothing of an ad- 
ventitious nature ought to be introduced into the process. 
In like manner, from religious investigations, as such, 
physics must be excluded, and from physical, as such, 
religion; and if we mix them, we shall spoil both. The 
theologian, speaking of Divine Omnipotence, for the time 
simply ignores the laws of nature as existing restraints 
upon its exercise ; and the physical philosopher, on the 
other hand, in his experiments upon natural phenomena, 
is simply ascertaining those laws, putting aside the ques- 
tion of that Omnipotence. If the theologian, in tracing 
the ways of Providence, were stopped wnth objections 
grounded on the impossibility of physical miracles, he 
would justly protest against the interruption ; and were 
the philosopher, who was determining the motion of the 
heavenly bodies, to be questioned about their Final or 
their First Cause, he too would suffer an illogical inter- 
ruption. The latter asks the cause of volcanoes, and is 
impatient at being told it is " the divine vengeance ;" the 

* Vid. Hallam's Literature of Europe, Macaulay's Essay, and ths Author'* 
Oxford University Sermons, IX. 

222 Discourse IX. 

former asks the cause of the overthrow of the guilty 
cities, and is preposterously referred to the volcanic 
action still visible in their neighbourhood. The inquiry 
into final causes for the moment passes over the exist- 
ence of established laws ; the inquiry into physical, 
passes over for the moment the existence of God. In 
other words, physical science is in a certain sense athe- 
istic, for the very reason it is not theology. 

This is Lord Bacon's justification, and an intelligible 
one, for considering that the fall of atheistic philosophy 
in ancient times was a blight upon the hopes of physical 
science. " Aristotle," he says, " Galen, and others fre- 
quently introduce such causes as these : — the hairs of 
the eyelids are for a fence to the sight ; the bones for 
pillars whence to build the bodies of animals ; the 
leaves of trees are to defend the fruit from the sun and 
wind ; the clouds are designed for watering the earth. 
All which are properly alleged in metaphysics ; but in 
physics, are impertinent, and as remoras to the ship, that 
hinder the sciences from holding on their course of 
improvement, and as introducing a neglect of searching 
after physical causes."* Here then is one reason for the 
prejudice of physical philosophers against Theology : — 
on the one hand, their deep satisfaction in the laws of 
nature indisposes them towards the thought of a Moral 
Governor, and makes them sceptical of His interpo- 
sition ; on the other hand, the occasional interference of 
rehgious criticism in a province not religious, has made 
them sore, suspicious, and resentful. 

Another reason of a kindred nature is to be found 
in the difference of method by which truths are gained 

* In Augment., 5. 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 223 

in theology and in physical science. Induction is the 
instrument of Physics, and deduction only is the instru- 
ment of Theology. There the simple question is, What 
is revealed "i all doctrinal knowledge flows from one 
fountain head. If we are able to enlarge our view and 
multiply our propositions, it must be merely by the 
comparison and adjustment of the original truths ; if we 
would solve new questions, it must be by consulting old 
answers. The notion of doctrinal knowledge absolutely 
novel, and of simple addition from without, is intole- 
rable to Catholic ears, and never was entertained by 
any one who was even approaching to an understand- 
ing of our creed. Revelation is all in all in doctrine ; 
the Apostles its sole depository, the inferential method 
its sole instrument, and ecclesiastical authority its sole 
sanction. The Divine Voice has spoken once for all, 
and the only question is about its meaning. Now 
this process, as far as it was reasoning, was the very 
mode of reasoning which, as regards physical know- 
ledge, the school of Bacon has superseded by the in- 
ductive method : — no wonder, then, that that school 
should be irritated and indignant to find that a subject- 
matter remains still, in which their favourite instrument 
has no office ; no wonder that they rise up against this 
memorial of an antiquated system, as an eyesore and an 
insult ; and no wonder that the very force and dazzling 
success of their own method in its own departments 
should sway or bias unduly the religious sentiments of 
any persons who come under its influence. They assert 
that no new truth can be gained by deduction ; Catho- 
lics assent, but add that, as regards religious truth, they 
have not to seek at all, for they have it already. Chris- 
tian Truth is purely of revelation ; that revelation we can 
but explain, we cannot increase, except relatively to our 

2 24 Discourse IX. 

own apprehensions ; without it we should have known 
nothing of its contents, with it we know just as much as its 
contents, and nothing more. And, as it was given by a 
divine act independent of man, so will it remain in spite 
of man. Niebuhr may revolutionize history, Lavoisier 
chemistry, Newton astronomy; but God Himself is the 
author as well as the subject of theology. When Truth 
can change, its Revelation can change ; when human 
reason can outreason the Omniscient, then may it super- 
sede His work. 

Avowals such as these fall strange upon the ear of 
men whose first principle is the search after truth, and 
whose starting-points of search are things material and 
sensible. They scorn any process of inquiry not founded 
on experiment ; the Mathematics indeed they endure, 
because that science deals with ideas, not with facts, and 
leads to conclusions hypothetical rather than real ; 
" Metaphysics" they even use as a by-word of reproach ; 
and Ethics they admit only on condition that it gives up 
conscience as its scientific ground, and bases itself on 
tangible utility : but as to Theology, they cannot deal 
with it, they cannot master it, and so they simply outlaw 
it and ignore it. Catholicism, forsooth, " confines the 
intellect," because it holds that God's intellect is greater 
than theirs, and that what He has done, man cannot 
improve. And what in some sort justifies them to them- 
selves in this extravagance is the circumstance that 
there is a religion close at their doors which, discarding 
so severe a tone, has actually adopted their own 
principle of inquiry. Protestantism treats Scripture just 
as they deal with Nature ; it takes the sacred text as a 
large collection of phenomena, from which, by an in- 
ductive process, each individual Christian may arrive at 
just those religious conclusions which approve them- 

Ditties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 225 

selves to his own judgment. It considers faith a mere 
modification of reason, as being an acquiescence in 
certain probable conclusions till better are found. 
Sympathy, then, if no other reason, throws experimental 
philosophers into alliance with the enemies of Catho- 

I have another consideration to add, not less impor- 
tant than any I have hitherto adduced. The physical 
sciences, Astronomy, Chemistry, and the rest, are 
doubtless engaged upon divine works, and cannot issue 
in untrue religious conclusions. But at the same time it 
must be recollected that Revelation has reference to 
circumstances which did not arise till after the heavens 
and the earth were made. They were made before the 
introduction of moral evil into the world : whereas the 
Catholic Church is the instrument of a remedial dispen- 
sation to meet that introduction. No wonder then that 
her teaching is simply distinct, though not divergent, 
from the theology which Physical Science suggests to its 
followers. She sets before us a number of attributes 
and acts on the part of the Divine Being, for which the 
material and animal creation gives no scope ; power, 
wisdom, goodness are the burden of the physical world, 
but it does not and could not speak of mercy, long- 
suffering, and the economy of human redemption, and 
but partially of the moral law and moral goodness. 
" Sacred Theology," says Lord Bacon, " must be drawn 
from the words and the oracles of God : not from the 
light of nature or the dictates of reason. It is written, 
that ' the Heavens declare the glory of God ;' but we no- 
where find it that the Heavens declare the will of God ; 
which is pronounced a law and a testimony, that men 
7* 15 

226 Discourse IX. 

should do according to it. Nor does this hold only in 
the great mysteries of the Godhead, of the creation, 
of the redemption. . . . We cannot doubt that a large 
part of the moral law is too sublime to be attained by 
the light of nature ; though it is still certain that men, 
even with the light and law of nature, have some notions 
of virtue, vice, justice, wrong, good, and evil." * That 
the new and further manifestations of the Almighty, 
made by Revelation, are in perfect harmony with the 
teaching of the natural world, forms indeed one subject 
of the profound work of the Anglican Bishop Butler; 
but they cannot in any sense be gathered from nature, 
and the silence of nature concerning them may easily 
seduce the imagination, though it has no force to per- 
suade the reason, to revolt from doctrines which have 
not been authenticated by facts, but are enforced by 
authority. In a scientific age, then, there will naturally 
be a parade of what is called Natural Theology, a wide- 
spread profession of the Unitarian creed, an impatience 
of mystery, and a scepticism about miracles. 

And to all this must be added the ample opportunity 
which physical science gives to the indulgence of those 
sentiments of beauty, order, and congruity, of which I 
have said so much as the ensigns and colours (as they 
may be called) of a civilized age in its warfare against 

It being considered, then, that Catholicism differs from 
physical science, in drift, in method of proof, and in sub- 
ject-matter, how can it fail to meet with unfair usage 
from the philosophers of any Institution in which there 
is no one to take its part ? That Physical Science itself 
will be ultimately the loser by such ill treatment of Theo- 
* De Augin., § 28. 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 227 

loj^y, I have insisted on at great length in some pre- 
ceding Discouibes ; for to depress unduly, to encroach 
upon any science, and much more on an important one, 
is to do an injury to all. However, this is not the con- 
cern of the Church ; the Church has no call to watch 
over and protect Science : but towards Theology she has 
a distinct duty : it is one of the special trusts committed 
to her keeping. Where Theology is, there she must be; 
and if a University cannot fulfil its name and office with- 
out the recognition of Revealed Truth, she must be there 
to see that it is a bond fide recognition, sincerely made 
and consistently acted on. 

II. And if the interposition of the Church is necessary 
in the Schools of Science, still more imperatively is it 
demanded in the other main constituent portion of 
the subject-matter of Liberal Education, — Literature. 
Literature stands related to Man as Science stands to 
Nature ; it is his history. Man is composed of body 
and soul ; he thinks and he acts ; he has appetites, 
passions, affections, motives, designs ; he has within him 
the lifelong struggle of duty with inclination ; he has an 
intellect fertile and capacious ; he is formed for society, 
and society multiplies and diversifies in endless combina- 
tions his personal characteristics, moral and intellectual. 
All this constitutes his life ; of all this Literature is the 
expression; so that Literature is to man in some sort what 
autobiography is to the individual ; it is his Life and Re- 
mains. Moreover, he is this sentient, intelligent, creative, 
and operative being, quite independent of any extraor- 
dinary aid from Heaven, or any definite religious belief; 
and as such, as he is in himself, does Literature represent 
him ; it is the Life and Remains of the natural man, 

2 28 Discourse IX. 

innocent or guilty. I do not mean to say that it is 
impossible in its very notion that Literature should be 
tinctured by a religious spirit ; Hebrew Literature, as far 
as it can be called Literature, certainly is simply theo- 
logical, and has a character imprinted on it which is 
above nature ; but I am speaking of what is to be ex- 
pected without any extraordinary dispensation ; and I 
say that, in matter of fact, as Science is the reflection of 
Nature, so is Literature also — the one, of Nature physical, 
the other, of Nature moral and social. Circumstances, 
such as locality, period, language, seem to make little or 
no difference in the character of Literature, as such ; 
on the whole, all Literatures are one ; they are the 
voices of the natural man. 

I wish this were all that had to be said to the disad- 
vantage of Literature; but while Nature physical remains 
fixed in its laws, Nature moral and social has a will of 
its own, is self-governed, and never remains any long 
while in that state from which it started into action. 
Man will never continue in a mere state of innocence ; he 
is sure to sin, and his literature will be the expression of 
his sin, and this whether he be heathen or Christian. 
Christianity has thrown gleams of light on him and his 
literature ; but as it has not converted him, but only 
certain choice specimens of him, so it has not changed 
the characters of his mind or of his history ; his literature 
is either what it was, or worse than what it was, in pro- 
portion as there has been an abuse of knowledge granted 
and a rejection of truth. On the whole, then, I think it 
will be found, and ever found, as a matter of course, that 
Literature, as such, no matter of what nation, is the 
science or history, partly and at best of the natural man, 
partly of man in rebellion. 

Duties of the Church Towards Knoivledge. 229 


Here then, I say, you are involved in a difficulty 
greater than that which besets the cultivation of Science ; 
for, if Physical Science be dangerous, as I have said, it is 
dangerous, because it necessarily ignores the idea of 
moral evil ; but Literature is open to the more grievous 
imputation of recognizing and understanding it too well. 
Some one will say to me perhaps : " Our youth shall 
not be corrupted. We will dispense with all general or 
national- Literature whatever, if it be so exceptionable ; 
we will have a Christian Literature of our own, as pure, 
as true, as the Jewish." You cannot have it : — I do not 
say you cannot form a select literature for the young, nay, 
even for the middle or lower classes ; this is another 
matter altogether : I am speaking of University Educa- 
tion, which implies an extended range of reading, which 
has to deal with standard works of genius, or what are 
called the classics of a language : and I say, from the 
nature of the case, if Literature is to be made a study of 
human nature, you cannot have a Christian Literature. 
It is a contradiction in terms to attempt a sinless Litera- 
ture of sinful man. You may gather together something 
very great and high, something higher than any Literature 
ever was ; and when you have done so, you will find that 
it is not Literature at all. You will have simply left the 
delineation of man, as such, and have substituted for it, 
as far as you have had any thing to substitute, that of 
man, as he is or might be, under certain special advan- 
tages. Give up the study of man, as such, if so it must 
be ; but say you do so. Do not say you are studying 
him, his history, his mind and his heart, when you are 
studying something else. Man is a being of genius, 
passion, intellect, conscience, power. He exercises these 

230 Discourse IX. 

various gifts in various ways, in great deeds, in great 
thoughts, in heroic acts, in hateful crimes. He founds 
states, he fights battles, he builds cities, he ploughs the 
forest, he subdues the elements, he rules his kind. He 
creates vast ideas, and influences many generations. 
He takes a thousand shapes, and undergoes a thousand 
fortunes. Literature records them all to the life, 

Quicquid agunt homines, votum, timor, ira, voluptas, 
Gaudia, discursus. 

He pours out his fervid soul in poetry ; he sways to and 
fro, he soars, he dives, in his restless speculations ; his 
lips drop eloquence ; he touches the canvas, and it 
glows with beauty; he sweeps the strings, and they 
thrill with an ecstatic meaning. He looks back into 
himself, and he reads his own thoughts, and notes them 
down ; he looks out into the universe, and tells over and 
celebrates the elements and principles of which it is the 

Such is man : put him aside, keep him before you ; 
but, whatever you do, do not take him for what he is 
not, for something more divine and sacred, for man re- 
generate. Nay, beware of showing God's grace and its 
work at such disadvantage as to make the few whom it 
has thoroughly influenced compete in intellect with the 
vast multitude who either have it not, or use it ill. The 
elect are few to choose out of, and the world is inex- 
haustible. From the first, Jabel and Tubalcain, Nimrod 
"the stout hunter," the learning of the Pharaohs, and 
the wisdom of the East country, are of the world. Every 
now and then they are rivalled by a Solomon or a Be- 
seleel, but the habitat of natural gifts is the natural man. 
The Church may use them, she cannot at her will origi- 

Duties of the Church Towards K?iowledge. 231 

nate them. Not till the whole human race is made new 
will its literature be pjre and true. Possible of course 
it is in idea, for nature, inspired by heavenly grace, to 
exhibit itself on a large scale, in an originality of thought 
or action, even far beyond what the world's literature 
has recorded or exemplified ; but, if you would in fact 
have a literature of saints, first of all have a nation of 

What is a clearer proof of the truth of all this than 
the structure of the Inspired Word itself.? It is un- 
deniably not the reflection or picture of the many, but 
of the few ; it is no picture of Hfe, but an anticipation of 
death and judgment. Human literature is about all 
things, grave or gay, painful or pleasant ; but the 
Inspired Word views them only in one aspect, and as 
they tend to one scope. It gives us little insight into 
the fertile developments of mind ; it has no terms in its 
vocabulary to express with exactness the intellect and 
its separate faculties : it knows nothing of genius, fancy, 
wit, invention, presence of mind, resource. It does not 
discourse of empire, commerce, enterprise, learning, 
philosophy, or the fine arts. Slightly too does it touch 
on the more simple and innocent courses of nature and 
their reward. Little does it say* of those temporal 
blessings which rest upon our worldly occupations, and 
make them easy ; of the blessings which we derive from 
the sunshine day and the serene night, from the succes- 
sion of the seasons, and the produce of the earth. Little 
about our recreations and our daily domestic comforts ; 
little about the ordinary occasions of festivity and mirth, 
which sweeten human life; and nothing at all about 
various pursuits or amusements, which it would be goino- 
:oo much into detail to mention. We read indeed of the 

• Vid. the Author's Parochial Sermons, vol. i. 25. 

2^2 Discourse IX. 

feast when Isaac was weaned, and of Jacob's courtship, 
and of the reHgious merry-makings of holy Job ; but 
exceptions, such as these, do but remind us what might 
be in Scripture, and is not. If then by Literature is 
meant the manifestation of human nature in human lan- 
guage, you will seek for it in vain except in the world. 
Put up with it, as it is, or do not pretend to cultivate it ; 
take things as they are, not as you could wish them. 

Nay, I am obliged to go further still ; even if we could, 
still we should be shrinking from our plain duty, Gentle- 
men, did we leave out Literature from Education, For 
why do we educate, except to prepare for the world .'' 
Why do we cultivate the intellect of the many beyond 
the first elements of knowledge, except for this world ? 
Will it be much matter in the world to come whether 
our bodily health or whether our intellectual strength 
was more or less, except of course as this world is in 
all its circumstances a trial for the' next } If then a 
University is a direct preparation for this world, let it 
be what it professes. It is not a Convent, it is not a 
Seminary; it is a place to fit men of the world for the 
world. We cannot possibly keep them from plurying 
into the world, with all its ways and principles and 
maxims, when their time comes; but we can prepare 
them against what is inevitable ; and it is not the way 
to learn to swim in troubled waters, never to have 
gone into them. Proscribe (I do not merely say parti- 
cular authors, particular works, particular passages) but 
Secular Literature as such ; cut out from your class 
books all broad manifestations of the natural man ; and 
those manifestations are waiting for your pupil's benefit 
at the very doors of your lecture room in living and 

Duties of the Chicrch Towards Knowledge. 233 

breathing substance. They will meet him there in all 
the charm of novelty, and all the fascination of genius 
or of amiableness. To-day a pupil, to-morrow a mem- 
ber of the great world : to-day confined to the Lives 
of the Saints, to-morrow thrown upon Babel ; — thrown 
on Babel, without the honest indulgence of wit and 
humour and imagination having ever been permitted to 
him, without any fastidiousness of taste wrought into 
him, without any rule given him for discriminating "the 
precious from the vile," beauty from sin, the truth from 
the sophistry of nature, what is innocent from what is 
poison. You have refused him the masters of human 
thought, who would in some sense have educated him, 
because of their incidental corruption : you have shut 
up from him those whose thoughts strike home to our 
hearts, whose words are proverbs, whose names are in- 
digenous to all the world, who are the standard of their 
mother tongue, and the pride and boast of their country- 
men. Homer, Ariosto, Cervantes, Shakespeare, because 
the old Adam smelt rank in them ; and for what have 
you reserved him } You have given him " a liberty 
unto " the multitudinous blasphemy of his day ; you 
hive made him free of its newspapers, its reviews, its 
magazines, its novels, its controversial pamphlets, of its 
Parliamentary debates, its law proceedings, its platform 
speeches, its songs, its drama, its theatre, of its envelop- 
ing, stifling atmosphere of death. You have succeeded 
but in this, — in making the world his University. 

Difficult then as the question may be, and much as it 
may try the judgments and even divide the opinions of 
zealous and rehgious Catholics, I cannot feel any doubt 
myself, Gentlemen, that the Church's true policy is not 
to aim at the exclusion of Literature from Secular 
Schools, but at her own admission into them. Let her do 

234 Discourse IX. 

for Literature in one way what she does for Science in 
another; each has its imperfection,and she has her remedy 
for each. She fears no knowledge, but she purifies all ; 
she represses no element of our nature, but cultivates 
the whole. Science is grave, methodical, logical ; with 
Science then she argues, and opposes reason to reason. 
Literature does not argue, but declaims and insinuates ; 
it is multiform and versatile : it persuades instead of 
convincing, it seduces, it carries captive; it appeals to the 
sense of honour, or to the imagination, or to the stimu- 
lus of curiosity ; it makes its way by means of gaiety, 
satire, romance, the beautiful, the pleasurable. Is it 
wonderful that with an agent like this the Church should 
claim to deal with a vigour corresponding to its restless- 
ness, to interfere in its proceedings with a higher hand, 
and to wield an authority in the choice of its studies and 
of its books which would be tyrannical, if reason and 
fact were the only instruments of its conclusions .'' But, 
any how, her principle is one and the same throughout ; 
not to prohibit truth of any kind, but to see that no doc- 
trines pass under the name of Truth but those which 
claim it rightfully. 


Such at least is the lesson which I am taught by all 
the thought which I have been able to bestow upon the 
subject ; such is the lesson which I have gained from the 
history of my own special Father and Patron, St. Philip 
Neri. He lived in an age as traitorous to the interests 
of Catholicism as any that preceded it, or can follow it. 
He lived at a time when pride mounted high, and the 
senses held rule ; a time when kings and nobles never 
had more of state and homage, and never less of per- 
sonal responsibility and peril ; when medieval winter was 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 235 

receding, and the summer sun of civilization was bring- 
ing into leaf and flower a thousand forms of luxurious 
enjoyment ; when a new world of thought and beauty 
had opened upon the human mind, in the discovery of 
the treasures of classic literature and art. He saw the 
great and the gifted, dazzled by the Enchantress, and 
drinking in the magic of her song ; he saw the high and 
the wise, the student and the artist, painting, and poetry, 
and sculpture, and music, and architecture, drawn within 
her range, and circling round the abyss : he saw heathen 
forms mounting thence, and forming in the thick air : — 
all this he saw, and he perceived that the mischief was to 
be met, not with argument, not with science, not with 
protests and warnings, not by the recluse or the preacher, 
but by means of the great counter-fascination of purity 
and truth. He was raised up to do a work almost pecu- 
liar in the Church, — not to be a Jerome Savonarola, 
though Philip had a true devotion towards him and a 
tender memory of his Florentine house ; not to be a 
St. Charles, though in his beaming countenance Philip 
had recognized the aureol of a saint ; not to be a St. 
Ignatius, wrestling with the foe, though Philip was termed 
the Society's bell of call, so many subjects did he send 
to it ; not to be a St. Francis Xavier, though Philip 
had longed to shed his blood for Christ in India with him ; 
not to be a St. Caietan, cr hunter of souls, for Philip 
preferred, as he expressed it, tranquilly to cast in his 
net to gain them ; he preferred to yield to the stream, 
and direct the current, which he could not stop, of 
science, literature, art, and fashion, and to sweeten and 
to sanctify what God had made very good and man had 

And sc he contemplated as the idea of his mission, 
not the propagation of the faith, nor the exposition of 

236 Discourse IX. 

doctrine, nor the catechetical schools; whatever was exact 
and systematic pleased him not ; he put from him mo- 
nastic rule and authoritative speech, as David refused the 
armour of his king. No ; he would be but an ordinary 
individual priest as others : and his weapons should be but 
unaffected humility and unpretending love. All He did 
was to be done by the light, and fervour, and convincing 
eloquence of his personal character and his easy conver- 
sation. He came to the Eternal City and he sat himself 
down there, and his home and his family gradually grew 
up around him, by the spontaneous accession of materials 
from without. He did not so much seek his own as 
draw them to him. He sat in his small room, and they 
in their gay worldly dresses, the rich and the wellborn, 
as well as the simple and the illiterate, crowded into it. 
In the mid-heats of summer, in the frosts of winter, still 
was he in that lov/ and narrow cell at San Girolamo, 
reading the hearts of those who came to him, and curing 
their souls' maladies by the very touch of his hand. It 
was a vision of the Magi worshipping the infant Saviour, 
so pure and innocent, so sweet and beautiful was he ; 
and so loyal and so dear to the gracious Virgin Mother. 
And they who came remained gazing and listening, till 
at length, first one and then another threw off their 
bravery, and took his poor cassock and girdle instead : 
or, if they kept it, it was to put haircloth under it, or to 
take on them a rule of liTe, while to the world they looked 
as before. 

In the words of his biographer, " he was all things to 
all men. He suited himself to noble and ignoble, young 
and old, subjects and prelates, learned and ignorant ; 
and received those who were strangers to him with 
singular benignity, and embraced them with as much 
love and charity as if he had been a long while expect- 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 237 

ing them. When he was called upon to be merry he 
was so ; if there was a demand upon his sympathy he 
was equally ready. He gave the same welcome to all: 
caressing the poor equally with the rich, and wearying 
himself to assist all to the utmost limits of his power. 
In consequence of his being so accessible and willing to 
receive all comers, many went to him every day, and 
some continued for the space of thirty, nay forty years, 
to visit him very often both morning and evening, so 
that his room went by the agreeable nickname of the 
Home of Christian mirth. Nay, people came to him, 
not only from all parts of Italy, but from France, Spain, 
Germany, and all Christendom ; and even the infidels 
and Jews, who had ever any communication with him, 
revered him as a holy man." * The first families of 
Rome, the Massimi, the Aldobrandini, the Colonnas, the 
Altleri, the Vitelleschi, were his friends and his penitents. 
Nobles of Poland, Grandees of Spain, Knights of Malta, 
could not leave Rome without coming to him. Car- 
dinals, Archbishops, and Bishops were his intimates; 
Federigo Borromeo haunted his room and got the name 
of " Father Philip's soul." The Cardinal-Archbishops of 
Verona and Bologna wrote books in his honour. Pope 
Pius the Fourth died in his arms. Lawyers, painters, 
musicians, physicians, it was the same too with them. 
Baronius, Zazzara, and Ricci, left the law at his bid- 
ding, and joined his congregation, to do its work, to 
write the annals of the Church, and to die in the odour 
of sanctity. Palestrina had Father Philip's ministra- 
tions in his last moments. Animuccia hung about him 
during life, sent him a message after death, and was 
conducted by him through Purgatory to Heaven. And 
who was he, I say, all the while, but an humble priest, 
• Racci, vol. i., p. 192, ii., p. 98. 

238 Discourse IX. 

a stranger in Rome, with no distinction of family or 
letters, no claim of station or of office, great simply in 
the attraction with which a Divine Power had gifted 
him ? and yet thus humble, thus unennobled, thus empty- 
handed, he has achieved the glorious title of Apostle of 


Well were it for his clients and children. Gentlemen, if 
they could promise themselves the very shadow of his 
special power, or could hope to do a miserable fraction 
of the sort of work in which he was pre-eminently 
skilled. But so far at least they may attempt, — to take 
his position, and to use his method, and to cultivate the 
arts of which he was so bright a pattern. For me, if it be 
God's blessed will that in the years now coming I am to 
have a share in the great undertaking, which has been 
the occasion and the subject of these Discourses, so far 
I can say for certain that, whether or not I can do any 
thing at all in St. Philip's way, at least I can do nothing 
in any other. Neither by my habits of life, nor by 
vigour of age, am I fitted for the task of authority, or 
of rule, or of initiation. I do but aspire, if strevigth is 
given me, to be your minister in a work which must em- 
ploy younger minds and stronger lives than mine. I am 
but fit to bear my witness, to profifer my suggestions, to 
express my ^sentiments, as has in fact been my occupa- 
tion in these discussions ; to throw such light upon 
general questions, upon the choice of objects, upon the 
import of principles, upon the tendency of measures, as 
past reflection and experience enable me to contribute. 
I shall have to make appeals to your consideration, your 
friendliness, your confidence, of which I have had so 
many instances, on which I so tranquilly repose; and 

Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge. 239 

after all, neither you nor I must ever be surprised, should 
it so happen that the Hand of Him, with whom are the 
springs of life and death, weighs heavy on me, and 
makes me unequal to anticipations in which you have 
been too kind, and to hopes in which I may have been 
too :;anguine. 




y 16 


WILLIAM MONSELL, M.P., etc., etc. 

My dear Monsell, 

I seem to have some claim for asking leave of you to 
prefix your name to the following small Volume, since it 
is a memorial of work done in a country which you so 
dearly love, and in behalf of an undertaking in which 
you feel so deep an interest. 

Nor do I venture on the step without some hope that 
it is worthy of your acceptance, at least on account of 
those portions of it which have already received the 
approbation of the learned men to whom they were 
addressed, and which have been printed at their desire. 

But, even though there were nothing to recommend it 
except that it came from me, I know well that you 
would kindly welcome it as a token of the truth and 
constancy with which I am, 

My dear Monsell, 

Yours very affectionately, 



IT has been the fortune of the author through life, 
that the Volumes which he has published have grown 
for the most part out of the duties which lay upon him, 
or out of the circumstances of the moment. Rarely has 
he been master of his own studies. 

The present collection of Lectures and Essays, written 
by him while Rector of the Catholic University of Ire- 
land, is certainly not an exception to this remark. 
Rather, it requires the above consideration to be kept in 
view, as an apology for the want of keeping which is 
apparent between its separate portions, some of them 
being written for public delivery, others with the 
privileged freedom of anonymous compositions. 

However, whatever be the inconvenience which such 
varieties in tone and character may involve, the author 
cannot affect any compunction for having pursued the 
illustration of one and the same important subject-matter, 
with which he had been put in charge, by such methods, 
graver or lighter, so that they v.ere lawful, as successively 
came to his hand. 

November t 1858. 



I. Christianity and Letters. A Lecture read in the School 

of Philosophy and Letters, November, 1854 - - 249 

IL Literature. A Lecture read in the School of Philosophy 

and Letters, November, 1858 .... 268 

IIL Catholic Literature in the English Tongue, 
§. I, in its relation to Religious Literature - 
§. 2. to Science 
§. 3. to Classical Literature - 
§. 4. to Literature of the Day 

IV. Elementary Studies, 1854-6 : — 
§. I. Grammar 
§. 2. Composition - 
§. 3. Latin Writing - 
§. 4. General Religious Knowledge 

V. A Form of Infidelity of the Day, 1854 : — 
§. I. Its sentiments .... 
§. 2. Its policy .... 






VI. University Preaching, 1855 .... 405 

VII. Christianity and Physical Science. A Lecture read 

in the School of Medicine, November, 1855 • - 428 

VIII. Christianity and Scientific Investigation. A Lecture 

for the School of Science, 1855 - - - - 456 

IX. Discipline of Mind. An Address delivered to the Evening 

Classes, November, 1858 .... ^gg 

X. Christianity and Medical Science. An Address delivered 

to the Students of Medicine, November. 1858 • . 505 




IT seems but natural, Gentlemen, now that we are 
opening the School of Philosophy and Letters, or, 
as it was formerly called, of Arts, in this new University, 
that we should direct our attention to the question, what 
are the subjects generally included under that name, 
and what place they hold, and how they come to hold 
that place, in a University, and in the education which 
a University provides. This would be natural on 
such an occasion, even though the Faculty of Arts held 
but a secondary place in the academical system ; but 
it seems to be even imperative on us, considering that 
the studies which that Faculty embraces are almost the 
direct subject-matter and the staple of the mental exer- 
cises proper, to a University. 

It is*indeed not a little remarkable that, in spite of 
the special historical connexion of University Institutions 
with the Sciences of Theology, Law, and Medicine, a 
University, after all, should be formally based (as it really 
is), and should emphatically live in, the Faculty of Arts ; 
but such is the deliberate decision of those who have 

250 Christianity and Letters. 

most deeply and impartially considered the subject.* 
Arts existed before other Faculties ; the Masters of Arts 
were the ruling and directing body ; the success and 
popularity of the Faculties of Law and Medicine were 
considered to be in no slight measure an encroachment 
and a usurpation, and were met with jealousy and 
resistance. When Colleges arose and became the 
medium and instrument of University action, they did 
but confirm the ascendency of the Faculty of Arts ; and 
thus, even down to this day, in those academical cor- 
porations which have more than others retained the 
traces of their medieval origin, — I mean the Universities 
of Oxford and Cambridge, — we hear little of Theology, 
Medicine, or Law, and almost exclusively of Arts. 

Now, considering the reasonable association, to which I 
have already referred, which exists in our minds between 
Universities and the three learned professions, here is a 
phenomenon which has to be contemplated for its own 
sake and accounted for, as well as a circumstance en- 
hancing the significance and importance of the act in 
which we have been for some weeks engaged ; and I 
consider that I shall not be employing our time unprofit- 
ably, if I am able to make a suggestion, which, while 
it illustrates the fact, is able to explain the difficulty. 


Here I must go back. Gentlemen, a very great way, 
and ask you to review the course of Civilization since 
the beginning of history. When we survey the»stream 
of human affairs for the last three thousand years, we 
find it to run thus : — At first sight there is so much 
fluctuation, agitation, ebbing and flowing, that we may 
despair to discern any law in its movements, taking the 

• Vid Hiiber. 

Christianity and Letters. 251 

earth as its bed, and mankip.d as its contents ; but, on 
looking more closely and attentively, we shall discern, in 
spite of the heterogeneous materials and the various his- 
tories and fortunes which are found in the race of man' 
during the long period I have mentioned, a certain for- 
mation amid the chaos, — one and one only, — and ex- 
tending, though not over the whole earth, yet through a 
very considerable portion of it. Man is a social being 
and can hardly exist without society, and in matter of 
fact societies have ever existed all over the habitable 
earth. The greater part of these associations have been 
political or religious, and have been comparatively 
limited in extent, and temporary. They have been 
formed and dissolved by the force of accidents or by 
inevitable circumstances ; and, when we have enumerated 
them one by one, we have made of them all that can be 
made. But there is one remarkable association which 
attracts the attention of the philosopher, not political 
nor religious, or at least only partially and not essentially 
such, which began in the earliest times and grew with 
each succeeding age, till it reached its complete develop- 
ment, and then continued on, vigorous and unwearied, 
and which still remains as definite and as firm as ever it 
was. Its bond is a common civilization ; and, though 
there are other civili-^ations in the world, as there are 
other societies, yet :his civilization, together with the 
society which is its creation and its home, is so distinc- 
tive and luminous in its character, so imperial in its ex- 
tent, so imposing in its duration, and so utterly without 
rival upon the face of the earth, that the association may 
fitly assume to itself the title of " Human Society," and 
its civilization the abstract term " Civilization." 

There are indeed great outlying portions of mankind 
which are not, perhaps never have been, included in this 

252 Chnstian ity and L e tiers. 

Human Society ; still they are outlying portions and 
nothing else, fragmentary, unsociable, solitary, and un- 
meaning, protesting and revolting against the grand 
central formation of which I am speaking, but not unit- 
ing with each other into a second whole, I am not deny- 
ing of course the civilization of the Chinese, for instance, 
though it be not our civilization ; but it is a huge, sta- 
tionary, unattractive, morose civilization. Nor do I deny 
a civilization to the Hindoos, nor to the ancient Mexicans, 
nor to the Saracens, nor (in a certain sense) to the Turks ; 
but each of these races has its own civilization, as sepa- 
rate from one another as from ours. I do not see how 
they can be all brought under one idea. Each stands 
by itself, as if the other were not ; each is local ; many of 
them are temporary ; none of them will bear a compari- 
son with the Society and the Civilization which I have 
described as alone having a claim to those names, and on 
which I am going to dwell. 

Gentlemen, let me here observe that I am not entering 
upon the question of races, or upon their history. I have 
nothing to do with ethnology. I take things as I find 
them on the surface of history, and am but classing phe- 
nomena. Looking, then, at the countries which surround 
the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, I see them to be, from 
time immemorial, the seat of an association of intellect 
and mind, such as to deserve to be called the Intellect 
and the Mind of the Human Kind. Starting as it does 
and advancing from certain centres, till their respective 
influences intersect and conflict, and then at length inter- 
mingle and combine, a common Thought has been gene- 
rated, and a common Civilization defined and established. 
Egypt is one such starting point, Syria another, Greece 
a third, Italy a fourth, and North Africa a fifth, — after- 
wards France and Spain. As time goes on, and as coloni- 

Christia7iity and Letters, 253 

zation and conquest work their changes, we see a great 
association of nations formed, of which the Roman 
empire is the maturity and the most inteUigible expres- 
iion ; an association, however, not poHtical, but mental, 
based on the same intellectual ideas, and advancing by 
common intellectual methods. And this association or 
social commonwealth, with whatever reverses, changes, 
and momentary dissolutions, continues down to this day ; 
not, indeed, precisely on the same territory, but with 
such only partial and local disturbances, and on the 
other hand, with so combined and harmonious a move- 
ment, and such a visible continuity, that it would be 
utterly unreasonable to deny that it is throughout all 
that interval but one and the same. 

In its earliest age it included far more of the eastern 
world than it has since ; in these later times it has taken 
into its compass a new hemisphere ; in the middle ages 
it lost Africa, Egypt, and Syria, and extended itself to 
Germany, Scandinavia, and the British Isles. At one 
time its territory was flooded by strange and barbarous 
races, but the existing civilization was vigorous enough 
to vivify what threatened to stifle it, and to assimilate to 
the old social forms what came to expel them ; and thus 
the civilization of modern times remains what it was of 
old, not Chinese, or Hindoo, or Mexican, or Saracenic, 
or of any new description hitherto unknown, but the 
lineal descendant, or rather the continuation, mutatis 
mutandis, of the civilization which began in Palestine 
and Greece. 

Considering, then, the characteristics of this great civi- 
lized Society, which I have already insisted on, I think 
it has a claim to be considered as the representative 
Society and Civilization of the human race, as its perfect 
result and limit, in fact ; — those portions of the race which 

254 Christianity and Letters. 

do not coalesce with it being left to stand by themselves 
as anomalies, unaccountable indeed, but for that very 
reason not interfering with what on the contrary has 
been turned to account and has grown into a whole. I 
call then this commonwealth pre-eminently and emphati- 
cally Human Society, and its intellect the Human Mind, 
and its decisions the sense of mankind, and its disciplined 
and cultivated state Civilization in the abstract, and the 
territory on which it lies the orbis terrarum, or the World. 
For, unless the illustration be fanciful, the object which 
I am contemplating is like the impression of a seal upon 
the wax ; which rounds off and gives form to the greater 
portion of the soft material, and presents something de- 
finite to the eye, and preoccupies the space against any 
second figure, so that we overlook and leave out of our 
thoughts the jagged outline or unmeaning lumps outside 
of it, intent upon the harmonious circle which fills the 
imagination within it. 

Now, before going on to speak of the education, and 
the standards of education, which the Civilized World, as 
I may now call it, has enjoined and requires, I wish to 
draw your attention. Gentlemen, to the circumstance 
that this same orbis terrarum, which has been the seat of 
Civilization, will be found, on the whole, to be the seat 
ulso of that supernatural society and system which our 
Maker has given us directly from Himself, the Christian 
Polity. The natural and divine associations are not 
indeed exactly coincident, nor ever have been. As the 
territory of Civilization has varied with itself in different 
ages, while on the whole it has been the same, so, in like 
manner, Christianity has fallen partly outside Civilization, 
and Civihzation partly outside Christianity ; but, on the 

Christianity and Letters. ?.55 

whole, the two have occupied one and the same orbis ter- 
rarum. Often indeed they have even mowed pari passu, 
and at all times there has been found the most intimate 
connexion between them. Christianity waited till the 
orbis terrariim attained its most perfect form before it 
appeared ; and it soon coalesced, and has ever since co- 
operated, and often seemed identical, with the Civiliza- 
tion which is its companion. 

There are certain analogies, too, which hold between 
Civilization and Christianity. As Civilization does not 
cover the whole earth, neither does Christianity; but 
there is nothing else like the one, and nothing else like 
the other. Each is the only thing of its kind. Again, 
there are, as I have already said, large outlying portions 
of the world in a certain sense cultivated and educated, 
which, if they could exist together in one, would go far 
to constitute a second orbis terrariim, the home of a 
second distinct civilization ; but every one of these is 
civilized on its own principle and idea, or at least they 
are separated from each other, and have not run together, 
while the Civilization and Society which I have been 
describing is one organized whole. And, in like manner, 
Christianity coalesces into one vast body, based upon 
common ideas ; yet there are large outlying organizations 
of religion independent of each other and of it. More- 
over, Christianity, as is the case in the parallel instance of 
Civilization, continues on in the world without interrup- 
tion from the date of its rise, while other religious bodies, 
huge, local, and isolated, are rising and falling, or are 
'helplessly stationary, -from age to age, on all sides of it. 

There is another remarkable analogy between Chris- 
tianity and Civilization, and the mention of it will 
introduce my proper subject, to which what I have 
hitherto said is merely a preparation. We know that 

2}}6 Ch ristian ity and L etters, 

Christianity is built upon definite ideas, principles, 
doctrines, and writings, which were given at the time of 
its first introduction, and have never been superseded, 
and admit of no addition. I am not going to parallel 
any thing which is the work of man, and in the natural 
order, with what is from heaven, and in consequence 
infallible, and irreversible, and obligatory ; but, after 
making this reserve, lest I should possibly be misunder- 
stood, still I would remark that, in matter of fact, look- 
ing at the state of the case historically. Civilization too 
has its common principles, and views, and teaching, and 
especially its books, which have more or less been given 
from the earliest times, and are, in fact, in equal esteem 
and respect, in equal use now, as they were when they 
were received in the beginning. In a word, the Classics, 
and the subjects of thought and the studies to which 
they give rise, or, to use the term most to our present 
purpose, the Arts, have ever, on the whole, been the 
instruments of education which the civilized orbis ter- 
rarum has adopted ; just as inspired works, and the 
lives of saints, and the articles of faith, and the catechism, 
have ever been the instrument of education in the case of 
Christianity. And this consideration, you see, Gentle- 
men (to drop down at once upon the subject proper to 
the occasion which has brought us together), invests 
the opening of the School in Arts with a solemnity and 
moment of a peculiar kind, for we are but reiterating an 
old tradition, and carrying on those august methods of 
enlarging the mind, and cultivating the intellect, and 
refining the feelings, in which the process of Civilization 
has ever consisted. 


In the country which has been the fountain head 

Christianity and Letters. 257 

of intellectual gifts, in the age which preceded or 
introduced the first formations of Human Society, in an 
era scarcely historical, we may dimly discern an almost 
mythical personage, who, putting out of consideration 
the actors in Old Testament history, may be called the 
first Apostle of Civilization. Like an Apostle in a higher 
order of things, he was poor and a wanderer, and feeble 
in the flesh, though he was to do such great things, and 
to live in the mouths of a hundred generations and a 
thousand tribes. A blind old man ; whose wanderings 
were such that, when he became famous, his birth-place 
could not be ascertained, so that it v/as said, — 

" Seven famous towns contend for Homer dead, 
Through which the Hving Homer begged his bread." 

Yet he had a name in his day ; and, little guessing in 
what vast measures his wish would be answered, he sup- 
plicated, with a tender human sentiment, as he wandered 
over the islands of the -lEgean and the Asian coasts, that 
those who had known and loved him would cherish his 
memory when he was away. Unlike the proud boast 
of the Roman poet, if he spoke it in earnest, " Exegi 
monumentum aere perennius," he did but indulge the 
hope that one, whose coming had been expected with 
pleasure, might excite regret when he had departed, and 
be rewarded by the sympathy and praise of his friends 
even in the presence of other minstrels. A set of verses 
remains, which is ascribed to him, in which he addresses 
the Delian women in the tone of feeling which I have 
described. " Farewell to you all," he says, " and re- 
member me in time to come, and when any one of men 
on earth, a stranger from far, shall inquire of you, O 
maidens, who is the sweetest of minstrels here about, 
7* . 17 

258 Christianity ajid Letters. 

and in whom do you most delight ? then make answer 
modestly, It is a bUnd man, and he lives in steep 

The great poet remained unknown for some centuries, 
— that is, unknown to what we call fame. His verses 
were cherished by his countrymen, they might be the 
secret delight of thousands, but they were not collected 
into a volume, nor viewed as a whole, nor made a sub- 
ject of criticism. At length an Athenian Prince took 
upon him the task of gathering together the scattered 
fragments of a genius which had not aspired to immor- 
tality, of reducing them to writing, and of fitting them 
to be the text-book of ancient education. Henceforth 
the vagrant ballad-singer, as he might be thought, was 
submitted, to his surprise, to a sort of literary canoni- 
zation, and w^as invested with the ofiice of forming the 
young mind of Greece to noble thoughts and bold deeds. 
To be read in Homer soon became the education of a 
gentleman ; and a rule, recognized in her free age, re- 
mained as a tradition even in the times of her degra- 
dation. Xenophon introduces to us a youth who knew 
both IHad and Odyssey by heart ; Dio witnesses that 
they were some of the first books put into the hands of 
boys ; and Horace decided that they taught the science 
of life better than Stoic or Academic. Alexander the 
Great nourished his imagination by the scenes of the 
Iliad. As time went on, other poets were associated 
with Homer in the work of education, such as Hesiod 
and the Tragedians. The majestic lessons concerning 
duty and religion, justice and providence, which occur in 
yCschylus and Sophocles, belong to a higher school than 
that of Homer ; and the verses of Euripides, even in his 
lifetime, were so familiar to Athenian lips and so dear 
to foreign ears, that, as is reported, the captives of 


Christianity and Letters. 259 

Syracuse gained their freedom at the price of reciting 
them to their conquerors. 

Such poetry may be considered oratory also, since it 
has so great a power of persuasion ; and the alliance 
between these two gifts had existed from the time that 
the verses of Orpheus had, according to the fable, made 
woods and streams and wild animals to follow him 
about. Soon, however, Oratory became the subject of 
a separate art, which was called Rhetoric, and of which 
the Sophists were the chief masters. Moreover, as 
Rhetoric was especially political in its nature, it pre- 
supposed or introduced the cultivation of History ; and 
thus the pages of Thucydides became one of the special 
studies by which Demosthenes rose to be the first orator 
of Greece. 

But it is needless to trace out further the formation of 
the course of liberal education ; it is sufficient to have 
given some specimens in illustration of it. The studies, 
which it was found to involve, were four principal ones, 
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, and Mathematics ; and the 
science of Mathematics, again, was divided into four, 
Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music ; making 
in all seven, which are known by the name of the Seven 
Liberal Arts. And thus a definite school of intellect was 
formed, founded on ideas and methods of a distinctive 
character, and (as we may say) of the highest and truest 
character, as far as they went, and which gradually asso- 
ciated in one, and assimilated, and took possession of, 
that multitude of nations which I have considered to 
represent mankind, and to possess the orbis terrarwn. 

When we pass from Greece to Rome, we are met with 
the common remark, that Rome produced little that was 
original, but borrowed from Greece. It is true ; Terence 
copied from Menander, Virgil from Homer, Hesiod, and 

26o Christianity aiid Letters. 

Theocritus ; and Cicero professed merely to reproduce 
the philosophy of Greece. But, granting its truth ever 
so far, I do but take it as a proof of the sort of instinct 
which has guided the course of CiviHzation. The world 
was to have certain intellectual teachers, and no others ; 
Homer and Aristotle, with the poets and philosophers 
who circle round them, were to be the schoolmasters of 
all generations, and therefore the Latins, falling into the 
law on which the world's education was to be carried on, 
so added to the classical library as not to reverse or in- 
terfere with what had already been determined. And 
there was the more meaning in this arrangement, when 
it is considered that Greek was to be forgotten during 
many centuries, and the tradition of intellectual training 
to be conveyed through Latin ; for thus the world was 
secured against the consequences of a loss which would 
have changed the character of its civilization. I think it 
very remarkable, too, how soon the Latin writers became 
text-books in the boys' schools. Even to this day Shake- 
speare and Milton are not studied in our course of edu- 
cation ; but the poems of Virgil and Horace, as those of 
Homer and the Greek authors in an earlier age, were in 
schoolboys' satchels not much more than a hundred 
years after they were written. 

I need not go on to show at length that they have 
preserved their place in the system of education in the 
orbis terrarum, and the Greek writers with them or 
through them, down to this day. The induction of cen- 
turies has often been made. Even in the lowest state 
of learning the tradition was kept up. St. Gregory the 
Great, whose era, not to say whose influence, is often con- 
sidered especially unfavourable to the old literature, was, 
himself well versed in it, encouraged purity of Latinity 
in his court, and is said figuratively by the contemporary 

Christianity and Letters, 261 

historian of his hfe to have supported the hall of the 
Apostolic See upon the columns of the Seven Liberal 
Arts. In the ninth century, when the dark age was 
close at hand, we still hear of the cultivation, with what- 
ever success (according of course to the opportunities of 
the times, but I am speaking of the nature of the studies, 
not of the proficiency of the students), the cultivation 
of Music, Dialectics, Rhetoric, Grammar, Mathematics, 
Astronomy, Physics, and Geometry ; of the supremacy 
of Horace in the schools, " and the great Virgil, Sallust, 
and Statins." In the thirteenth or following centuries, 
of " Virgil, Lucian, Statins, Ovid, Livy, Sallust, Cicero, 
and Quintilian ; " and after the revival of literature in 
the commencement of the modern era, we find St. Carlo 
Borroiueo enjoining the use of works of Cicero, Ovid, 
Virgil, and Horace.* 

I pass thus cursorily over the series of informations 
which history gives us on the subject, merely with a view 
of recalling to your memory, Gentlemen, and impressing 
upon you the fact, that the literature of Greece, con- 
tinued into, and enriched by, the literature of Rome, to- 
gether with the studies which it involves, has been the 
instrument of education, and the food of civilization, from 
the first times of the world down to this day ; — and now 
we are in a condition to answer the question which there- 
upon arises, when we turn to consider, by way of contrast, 
the teaching which is characteristic of Universities. How 
has it come to pass that, although the genius of Universi- 
ties is so different from that of the schools which preceded 
them, nevertheless the course of study pursued in those 

• ViJ. the treatises of P. Daniel and Mgr. Landriot, referred to in His- 
torical Sketches, vol. ii., p. 460, note. 

i62 C/i ristian ily and L etters. 

schools was not superseded in the middle ages by those 
more brilliant sciences which Universities introduced ? 
It might have seemed as if Scholastic Theology, Law, and 
Medicine would have thrown the Seven Liberal Arts into 
the shade, but in the event they failed to do so. I con- 
sider the reason to be, that the authority and function of 
the monastic and secular schools, as supplying to the 
young the means of education, lay deeper than in any 
appointment of Charlemagne, who was their nominal 
founder, and were based in the special character of that 
civilization which is so intimately associated with Chris- 
tianity, that it may even be called the soil out of which 
Christianity grew. The medieval sciences, great as is 
their dignity and utility, were never intended to supersede 
that more real and proper cultivation of the mind which 
is effected by the study of the liberal Arts ; and, when 
certain of these sciences did in fact go out of their pro- 
vince and did attempt to prejudice the traditional course 
of education, the encroachment was in matter of fact 
resisted. There were those in the middle age, as John of 
Salisbury, who vigorously protested against the extrava- 
gances and usurpations which ever attend the introduc- 
tion of any great good whatever, and which attended the 
rise of the peculiar sciences of which Universities were 
the seat ; and, though there were times when the old 
traditions seemed to be on the point of failing, somehow 
it has happened that they have never failed ; for the in- 
stinct of Civilization and the common sense of Society 
prevailed, and the danger passed away, and the studies 
which seemed to be going out gained their ancient place, 
and were acknowledged, as before, to be the best instru- 
ments of mental cultivation, and the best guarantees for 
intellectual progress. 

And this experience of the past we may apply to the 

Christianity and Letters. 263 

circumstances in which we find ourselves at present ; for, 
as there was a movement against the Classics in the 
middle age, so has there been now. The truth of the 
Baconian method for the purposes for which it was 
created, and its inestimable services and inexhaustible 
applications in the interests of our material well-being, 
have dazzled the imaginations of men, somewhat in the 
same way as certain new sciences carried them away in 
the age of Abelard ; and since that method does such 
wonders in its own province, it is not unfrequently sup- 
posed that it can do as much in any other province also. 
Now, Bacon himself never would have so argued ; he 
would not have needed to be reminded that to advance 
the useful arts is one thing, and to cultivate the mind 
another. The simple question to be considered is, how 
best to strengthen, refine, and enrich the intellectual 
powers ; the perusal of the poets, historians, and philo- 
sophers of Greece and Rome will accomplish this pur- 
pose, as long experience has shown ; but that the study 
of the experimental sciences will do the like, is proved 
to us as yet by no experience whatever. 

Far indeed am I from denying the extreme attrac- 
tiveness, as well as the practical benefit to the world 
at large, of the sciences of Chemistry, Electricity, and 
Geology ; but the question is not what department of 
study contains the more wonderful facts, or promises 
the more brilliant discoveries, and which is in the 
higher and which in an inferior rank ; but simply Avhich 
out of all provides the most robust and invigorating 
discipline for the unformed mind. And I conceive it is 
as little disrespectful to Lord Bacon to prefer the Classics 
in this point of view to the sciences which have grown 
out of his philosophy as it would be disrespectful to St. 
Thomas in the middle ages to have hijidered the btudy 

2t)4 CJiristianity and Letters. 

of the Summa from doing prejudice to the Faculty of 
Arts, Accordingly, I anticipate that, as in the middle 
ages both the teaching and the government of the 
University remained in the Faculty of Arts, in spite 
of the genius which created or illustrated Theology and 
Law, so now too, whatever be the splendour of the 
modern philosophy, the marvellousness of its disclosures, 
the utility of its acquisitions, and the talent of its masters, 
still it will not avail in the event, to detrude classical litera- 
ture and the studies connected with it from the place which 
they have held in all ages in education. 

Such, then, is the course of reflection obviously sug- 
gested by the act in which we have been lately engaged, 
and which we are now celebrating. In the nineteenth 
century, in a country which looks out upon a new world, 
and anticipates a coming age, we have been engaged in 
opening the Schools dedicated to the studies of polite 
literature and liberal science, or what are called the 
Arts, as a first step towards the establishment on 
Catholic ground of a Catholic University. And while 
we thus recur to Greece and Athens with pleasure 
and affection, and recognize in that famous land the 
source and the school of intellectual culture, it would be 
strange indeed if we forgot to look "'further south also, 
and there to bow before a more glorious luminary, and 
a more sacred oracle of truth, and the source of another 
sort of knowledge, high and supernatural, which is 
seated in Palestine. Jerusalem is the fountain-head of 
religious knowledge, as Athens is of secular. In the 
ancient world we see two centres of illumination, acting 
independently of each other, each with its own move- 
ment, and at first apparently without any promise of 
convergence. Greek civilization spreads over the East, 
conquering in the conquests of Alexander, and, when 

Christianity and Letters. 265 

carried captive into the West, subdues the conquerors who 
brought it thither. ReHgion, on the other hand, is driven 
from its own aboriginal home to the North and West by 
reason of the sins of the people who were in charge of 
it, in a long course of judgments and plagues and perse- 
cutions. Each by itself pursues its career and fulfils its 
mission ; neither of them recognizes, nor is recognized 
by the other. At length the Temple of Jerusalem is 
rooted up by the armies of Titus, and the effete schools 
of Athens are stifled by the edict of Justinian. So pass 
away the ancient Voices of religion and learning ; but they 
are silenced only to revive more gloriously and perfectly 
elsewhere. Hitherto they came from separate sources, 
and performed separate works. Each leaves an heir and 
successor in the West, and that heir and successor is 
one and the same. The grace stored in Jerusalem, and 
the gifts which radiate from Athens, are made over and 
concentrated in Rome. This is true as a matter of 
history. Rome has inherited both sacred and pro- 
fane learning ; she has perpetuated and dispensed the 
traditions of Moses and David in the supernatural order, 
and of Homer and Aristotle in the natural. To separate 
those distinct teachings, human and divine, which meet 
in Rome, is to re'trograde ; it is to rebuild the Jewish 
Temple and to plant anew the groves of Academus. 


On this large subject, however, on which I might say 
much, time does not allow me to enter. To show how 
sacred learning and profane are dependent on each other, 
correlative and mutually complementary, how faith 
operates by means of reason, and reason is directed 
and corrected by faith, is really the subject of a distinct 
lecture. I would conclude, then, with merely congratu- 

266 Christianity and Letters. 

lating you, Gentlemen, on the great undertaking which 
we have so auspiciously commenced. Whatever be its 
fortunes, whatever its difficulties, whatever its delays, I 
cannot doubt at all that the encouragement which it has 
already received, and the measure of success which it 
has been allotted, are but a presage and an anticipation 
of a gradual advance towards its completion, in such 
times and such manner as Providence shall appoint. 
For myself, I have never had any misgiving about it, 
because I had never known anything of it before the 
time when the Holy See had definitely decided upon its 
prosecution. It is my happiness to have no cognizance 
of the anxieties and perplexities of venerable and holy 
prelates, or the discussions of experienced and prudent 
men, which preceded its definitive recognition on the 
part of the highest ecclesiastical authority. It is my 
happiness to have no experience of the time when good 
Catholics despaired of its success, distrusted its expe- 
diency, or even felt an obligation to appose it. It has 
been my happiness that I have never been in con- 
troversy with persons in this country external to the 
Catholic Church, nor have been forced into any direct 
collision with institutions or measures which rest on a 
foundation hostile to Catholicism. No one can accuse 
me of any disrespect towards those whose principles or 
whose policy I disapprove ; nor am I conscious of any 
other aim than that of working in my own place, without 
going out of my way to offend others. If I have taken 
part in the undertaking which has now brought us to- 
gether, it has been because I believed it was a great 
work, great in its conception, great in its promise, and 
great in the authority from which it proceeds. I felt it 
to be so great that I did not dare to incur the responsi- 
bility of refusing to take part in it. 

Christianity and Letters. 267 

How far indeed, and how long, I am to be connected 
with it, is another matter altogether. It is enough for 
one man to lay only one stone of so noble and grand an 
edifice ; it is enough, more than enough for me, if I do 
so much as merely begin, what others may m-,re hope- 
fully continue. One only among the sons of men has 
carried out a perfect work, atid satisfied and exhausted 
the mission on which He came. One alone has with 
His last breath said " Consummatum est." But all who 
set about their duties in faith and hope and love, with a 
resolute heart and a devoted will, are able, weak though 
they be, to do what, though incomplete, is imperishable. 
Even their failures become successes, as being necessary 
steps in a course, and as terms (so to say) in a long 
series, which will at length fulfil the object which they 
propose. And they will unite themselves in spirit, in 
their humble degree, with those real heroes of Holy 
Writ and ecclesiastical history, Moses, Elias, and David, 
Basil, Athanasius, and Chrysostom, Gregory the Se- 
venth, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and many others, 
who did most when they fancied themselves least 
prosperous, and died without being permitted to see 
the fruit of their labours. 






WISHING to address you, Gentlemen, at the com- 
mencement of a new Session, I tried to find a 
subject for discussion, which might be at once suitable to 
the occasion, yet neither too large for your time, nor too 
minute or abstruse for your attention. I think I see one 
for my purpose in the very title of your Faculty. It 
is the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. Now the 
question may arise as to what is meant by " Philosophy," 
and what is meant by "Letters." As to the other 
Faculties, the subject-matter which they profess is in- 
telligible, as soon as named, and beyond all dispute. 
We know what Science is, what Medicine, what Law, 
and what Theology ; but we have not so much ease in 
determining what is meant by Philosophy and Letters. 
Each department of that twofold province needs expla- 
nation : it will be sufficient, on an occasion like this, to 
investigate one of them. Accordingly I shall select for 
remark the latter of the two, and attempt to determine 
what we are to understand by Letters or Literature, in 
what Literature consists, and how it stands relatively to 

Literature. 2^9 

Science. We speak, for instance, of ancient and modern 
literature, the literature of the day, sacred literature, 
light literature ; and our lectures in this place are 
devoted to classical literature and English literature. 
Are Letters, then, synonymous with books .-* This cannot 
be, or they would include in their range Philosophy, 
Law, and, in short, the teaching of all the other Faculties, 
Far from confusing these various studies, we view the 
works of Plato or Cicero sometimes as philosophy, some- as literature ; on the other hand, no one would 
ever be tempted to speak of Euclid as literature, or of 
Matthias's Greek Grammar. Is, then, literature synony- 
mous with composition .-* with books written with an 
attention to style } is literature fine writing .»* again, is it 
studied and artificial writing ,'' 

There are excellent persons who seem to adopt this 
last account of Literature as their own idea of it. They 
depreciate it, as if it were the result of a mere art or 
trick of words. Professedly indeed, they are aiming at 
the Greek and Roman classics, but their criticisms have 
quite as great force against all literature as against any. 
I think I shall be best able to bring out what I have to 
say on the subject by examining the statements which 
they make in defence of their own view of it. They 
contend then, i. that fine writing, as exemplified in the 
Classics, is mainly a matter of conceits, fancies, and pret- 
tinesses, decked out in choice words ; 2. that this is the 
proof of it, that the classics will not bear translating- ; — 
(and this is why I have said that the real attack is upon 
literature altogether, not the classical only ; for, to speak 
generally, all literature, modern as well as ancient, lies 
under this disadvantage. This, however, they will not 
allow; for they maintain,) 3. that Holy Scripture presents a 
remarkable contrast to secular writings on this very point, 

270 Literature. 

viz., in that Scripture does easily admit of translation, 
though it is the most sublime and beautiful of all writings. 


Now I will begin by stating these three positions in 
the words of a writer, who is cited by the estimable 
Catholics in question as a witness, or rather as an 
advocate, in their behalf, though he is far from being 
able in his own person to challenge the respect which is 
inspired by themselves. 

" There are two sorts of eloquence," says this writer, 
" the one indeed scarce deserves the name of it, which 
consists chiefly in laboured and polished periods, an 
over-curious and artificial arrangement of figures, tin- 
selled over with a gaudy embellishment of words, 
which glitter, but convey little or no light to the under- 
standing. This kind of writing is for the most part 
much affected and admired by the people of weak 
judgment and vicious taste ; but it is a piece of affecta- 
tion and formality the sacred writers are utter strangers 
to. It is a vain and boyish eloquence ; and, as it has 
always been esteemed below -ho great geniuses of all 
ages, so much more so with respect to those writers who 
were actuated by the spirit of Infinite Wisdom, and 
therefore wrote with that force and majesty with which 
never man writ. The other sort of eloquence is quite 
the reverse to this, and which may be said to be the true 
characteristic of the Holy Scriptures ; where the ex- 
cellence does not arise from a laboured and far-fetched 
elocution, but from a surprising mixture of simplicity 
and majesty, which is a double character, so difficult to 
be united that it is seldom to be met with in compo- 
sitions merely human. We see nothing in Holy Writ 
of affectation and superfluous ornament . , . Now, it is 

Literature. 271 

obsen^able that the most excellent profane authors, 
whether Greek or Latin, lose most of their graces when- 
ever we find them literally translated. Homer's famed 
representation of Jupiter — his cried-up description of a 
tempest, his relation of Neptune's shaking the earth and 
opening it to its centre, his description of Pallas's horses, 
with numbers of other long-since admired passages, 
flag, and almost vanish away, in the vulgar Latin 

" Let any one but take the pains to read the common 
Latin interpretations of Virgil, Theocritus, or even of 
Pindar, and one may venture to affirm he will be able to 
trace out but few remains of the graces which charmed 
him so much in the original. The natural conclusion 
from hence is, that in the classical authors, the expres- 
sion, the sweetness of the numbers, occasioned by a 
musical placing of words, constitute a great part of their 
beauties ; whereas, in the sacred writings, they consist 
more in the greatness of the things themselves than in 
the words and expressions. The ideas and conceptions 
are so great and lofty in their own nature that they 
necessarily appear magnificent in the most artless dress. 
Look but into the Bible, and we see them shine through 
the most simple and literal translations. That glorious 
description which Moses gives of the creation of the 
heavens and the earth, which Longinus . , . was so 
greatly taken with, has not lost the least whit of its 
intrinsic worth, and though it has undergone so many 
translations, yet triumphs over all, and breaks forth 
with as much force and vehemence as in the original. . 
In the history of Joseph, where Joseph makes himself 
known, and weeps aloud upon the neck of his dear 
brother Benjamin, that all the house of Pharaoh heard 
him, at that instant none of his brethren are introduced 

272 Literature. 

as uttering aught, either to express then' present joy 
or palHate their former injuries to him. On all sides 
there immediately ensues a deep and solemn silence ; a 
silence infinitely more eloquent and expressive than any- 
thing else that could have been substituted in its place. 
Had Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, or any of the cele- 
brated classical historians, been employed in writing this 
history, when they came to this point they would doubt- 
less have exhausted all their fund of eloquence in fur- 
nishing Joseph's brethren with laboured and studied 
harangues, which, however fine they might have been in 
themselves, would nevertheless have been unnatural, and 
altogether improper on the occasion." * 

This is eloquently written, but it contains, I consider, 
a mixture of truth and falsehood, which it will be my 
business to discriminate from each other. Far be it 
from me to deny the unapproachable grandeur and sim- 
plicity of Holy Scripture ; but I shall maintain that the 
classics are, as human compositions, simple and majestic 
and natural too. I grant that Scripture is concerned 
with things, but I will not grant that classical literature 
is simply concerned with words. I grant that human 
literature is often elaborate, but I will maintain that 
elaborate composition is not unknown to the writers of 
Scripture. I grant that human literature cannot easily 
be translated out of the particular language to which it 
belongs ; but it is not at all the rule that Scripture can 
easily be translated either ; — and now I address myself 
to my task : — 

Here, then, in the first place, I observe, Gentlemen, 
that Literature, from the derivation of the word, implies 

* Sterne, Sermon xlii. 

Literal iwe, 273 

writing, not speaking ; this, however, arises from the 
circumstance of the copiousness, variety, and public 
circulaiion of the matters of which it consists. What is 
spoken cannot outrun the range of the speaker's voice, 
and perishes in the uttering. When words are in de- 
mand to express a long course of thought, when they 
have to be conveyed to the ends of the earth, or perpe- 
tuated for the benefit of posterity, they must be written 
down, that is, reduced to the shape of literature ; still, 
properly speaking, the terms, by which we denote this 
characteristic gift of man, belong to its exhibition by 
means of the voice, not of handwriting. It addresses 
itself, in its primary idea, to the ear, not to the eye. We 
call it the power of speech, we call it language, that is, 
the use of the tongue ; and, even when we write, we still 
keep in mind what was its original instrument, for we use 
freely such terms in our books as " saying," " speaking," 
"telling,"' "talking," "calling;" we use the terms "phrase- 
ology" and "diction;" as if we were still addressing our- 
selves to the ear. 

Now I insist on this, because it shows that speech, and 
therefore literature, which is its permanent record, is 
essentially a personal work. It is not some production 
or result, attained by the partnership of several persons, 
or by machinery, or by any natural process, but in its 
very idea it proceeds, and must proceed, from some one 
given individual. Two persons cannot be the authors of 
the sounds which strike our ear ; and, as they cannot be 
speaking one and the same speech, neither can they be 
writing one and the same lecture or discourse, — which 
must certainly belong to some one person or other, and 
is the expression of that one person's ideas and feelings, 
— ideas and feelings personal to himself, though othefs 
may have parallel and similar ones, — proper to himself, 
7* 18 

274 Literature. 

in the same sense as his voice, his air, his countenance, 
his carriage, and his action, are personal. In other 
words. Literature expresses, not objective truth, as it is 
called, but subjective ; not things, but thoughts. 

Now this doctrine will become clearer by considering 
another use of words, which does relate to objective 
truth, or to things ; which relates to matters, not 
personal, not subjective to the individual, but which, 
even were there no individual man in the whole world 
to know them or to talk about them, would exist still. 
Such objects become the matter of Science, and words 
indeed are used to express them, but such words are 
rather symbols than language, and however many we 
use, and however we may perpetuate them by writing, 
we never could make any kind of literature out of them, 
or call them by that name. Such, for instance, would 
be Euclid's Elements ; they relate to truths universal 
and eternal ; they are not mere thoughts, but things : 
they exist in themselves, not by virtue of our under- 
standing them, not in dependence upon our will, but in 
what is called the nature of things, or at least on con- 
ditions external to us. The words, then, in which they 
are set forth are not language, speech, literature, but 
rather, as I have said, symbols. And, as a proof of it, 
you will recollect that it is possible, nay usual, to set 
forth the propositions of Euclid in algebraical notation, 
which, as all would admit, has nothing to do with 
literature. What is true of mathematics is true also of 
every study, so far forth as it is scientific ; it makes use 
of words as the mere vehicle of things, and is thereby 
withdrawn from the province of literature. Thus 
metaphysics, ethics, law, political economy, chemistry, 
theology, cease to be literature in the same degree as 
they are capable of a severe scientific treatment. And 

Literature. 275. 

hence it is that Aristotle's works on the one hand, 
though at first sight hterature, approach in character, at 
least a great number of them, to mere science ; for even 
though the things which he treats of and exhibits may 
not always be real and true, yet he treats them as if they 
were, not as if they were the thoughts of his own mind; 
that is, he treats them scientifically. On the other hand, 
Law or Natural History has before now been treated by 
an author with so much of colouring derived from his 
own mind as to become a sort of literature ; this is 
especially seen in the instance of Theology, when it 
takes the shape of Pulpit Eloquence. It is seen too in 
historical composition, which becomes a mere specimen 
of chronology, or a chronicle, when divested of the 
philosophy, the skill, or the party and personal feelings 
of the particular writer. Science, then, has to do with 
things, literature with thoughts ; science is universal, 
literature is personal ; science uses words merely as 
symbols, but literature uses language in its full compass, 
as including phraseology, idiom, style, composition, 
rhythm, eloquence, and whatever other properties are 
included in it. 

Let us then put aside the scientific use of words, when 
we are to speak of language and literature. Literature is 
the personal use or exercise of language. That this is so 
is further proved from the fact that one author uses it so 
differently from another. Language itself in its very 
origination would seem to be traceable to individuals. 
Their peculiarities have given it its character. We are 
often able in fact to trace particular phrases or idioms to 
individuals ; we know the history of their rise. Slano- 
surely, as it is called, comes of, and breathes of the per- 
sonal. The connection between the force of words in 
particular languages and the habits and sentiments of 

276 Litet'aiure. 

the nations speaking them has often been pointed out. 
And, while the many use language as they find it, the 
man of genius uses it indeed, but subjects it withal to his 
own purposes, and moulds it according to his own pecu- 
liarities. The throng and succession of ideas, thoughts, 
feelings, imaginations, aspirations, which pass within him, 
the abstractions, the juxtapositions, the comparisons, the 
discriminations, the conceptions, which are so original in 
him, his views of external things, his judgments upon 
life, manners, and history, the exercises of his wit, of 
his h-umour, of his depth, of his sagacity, all these in- 
numerable and incessant creations, the very pulsation 
and throbbing of his intellect, does he image forth, to all 
does he give utterance, in a corresponding language, 
which is as multiform as this inward mental action itself 
and analogous to it, the faithful expression of his in- 
tense personality, attending on his own inward world of 
thought as its very shadow : so that we might as well 
say that one man's shadow is another's as that the style 
of a really gifted mind can belong to any but himself. 
It follows him about as a shadow. His thought and 
feeling are personal, and so his language is personal. 

Thought and speech are inseparable from each other.- 
Matter and expression are parts of one : style is a think- 
ing out into language. This is what I have been laying 
down, and this is literature ; not things, not the verbal 
symbols of things ; not on the other hand mere words ; 
but thoughts expressed in language. Call to mind. 
Gentlemen, the meaning of the Greek word which ex- 
presses this special prerogative of man over the feeble 
intelligence of the inferior animals. It is called Logos: 
ivhat does Logos mean ? it stands both for reason and fori 


-; / 

speech, and it is difficult to say which it means more pro- 
perly. It means both at once : why ? because really they 
cannot be divided, — because they are in a true sense one. 
When we can separate light and illumination, life and 
motion, the convex and the concave of a curve, then will 
it be possible for thought to tread speech under foot, and 
to hope to do without it — then will it be conceivable 
that the vigorous and fertile intellect should renounce 
its own double, its instrument of expression, and the 
channel of its speculations and emotions. 

Critics should consider this view of the subject before 
they lay down such canons of taste as the writer whose 
p:iges I have quoted. Such men as he is consider fine 
writing to be an addition from without to the matter 
treated of, — a sortof ornament superinduced, or a luxury 
indulged in, by those who have time and inclination for 
such vanities. They speak as if one man could do the 
thought, and another the style. We read in Persian 
travels of the way in which young gentlemen go to work 
in the East, when they would engage in correspondence 
with those who inspire them with hope or fear. They 
cannot write one sentence themselves ; so they betake 
themselves to the professional letter-writer. They con- 
fide to him the object they have in view. They have a 
point to gain from a superior, a favour to ask, an evil to 
deprecate ; they have to approach a man in power, or to 
make court to some beautiful lady. The professional 
man manufactures words for them, as they are wanted, 
as a stationer sells them paper, or a schoolmaster might 
cut their pens. Thought and word are, in their concep- 
tion, two things, and thus there is a division of labour. 
The man of thought comes to the man of words; and 
the man of words, duly instructed in the thought, dips 
the pen of desire into the ink of devotedness, and pro- 

278 Literature. 

ceeds to spread it over the page of desolation. Then th* 
nightingale of affection is heard to warble to the rose o 
lovehness, while the breeze of anxiety plays around th( 
brow of expectation. This is what the Easterns are saic 
to consider fine writing ; and it seems pretty much the ide; 
of the school of critics to whom I have been referring. 

We have an instance in literary history of this verj 
proceeding nearer home, in a great University, in th( 
latter years of the last century. I have referred to i 
before now in a public lecture elsewhere * ; but it is to( 
much in point here to be omitted. A learned Arabic 
scholar had to deliver a set of lectures before its doctor! 
and professors on an historical subject in which hii 
reading had lain. A linguist is conversant with scienc( 
rather than with literature ; but this gentleman felt tha: 
his lectures must not be without a style. Being of th( 
opinion of the Orientals, with whose writings he wa< 
familiar, he determined to buy a style. He took the 
step of engaging a person, at a price, to turn the mattei 
which he had got together into ornamental English 
Observe, he did not wish for mere grammatical English 
but for an elaborate, pretentious style. An artist was 
found in the person of a country curate, and the job was 
carried out. His lectures remain to this day, in theii 
own place in the protracted series of annual Discourses 
to which they belong, distinguished amid a number oi 
heavyish compositions by the rhetorical and ambitious 
diction for which he went into the market. This learned 
divine, indeed, and the author I have quoted, differ from 
each other in the estimate they respectively form oj 
literary composition ; but they agree together in this, — in 
considering such composition a trick and a trade ; they 
put it on a par with the gold plate and the flowers and 
* *' Position of Catholics in England," pp. loi, 2. 

Literature. 279 

the music of a banquet, which do not make the viands 
better, but the entertainment more pleasurable ; as if 
language were the hired servant, the mere mistress of the 
reason, and not the lawful wife in her own house. 

But can they really think- that Homer, or Pindar, 
or Shakespeare, or Dryden, or Walter Scott, were 
accustomed to aim at diction for its own sake, instead of 
being inspired with their subject, and pouring forth 
beautiful words because they had beautiful thoughts ? 
this is surely too great a paradox to be borne. Rather, 
it is the fire within the author's breast which overflows 
in the torrent of his burning, irresistible eloquence ; it is 
the poetry of his inner soul, which relieves itself in the 
Ode or the Elegy ; and his mental attitude and bearing, 
the beauty of his moral countenance, the force and 
keenness of his logic, are imaged in the tenderness, or 
energy, or richness of his language. Nay, according to 
the well-known line, " facit indignatio versus ; " not the 
words alone, but even the rhythm, the metre, the verse, 
will be the contemporaneous offspring of the emotion or 
imagination which possesses him. " Poeta nascitur, non 
fit," says the proverb ; and this is in numerous instances 
true of his poems, as well as of himself. They are born, 
not framed ; they are a strain rather than a composition ; 
and their perfection is the monument, not so much of his 
skill as of his power. And this is true of prose as well as 
of verse in its degree : who will not recognize in the vision 
of Mirza a delicacy and beauty of style which is very 
difficult to describe, but which is felt to be in exact 
correspondence to the ideas of which it is the expression ? 

And, since the thoughts and reasonings of an author 
have, as I have said, a personal character, no wonder that 

2 So Literature. 

his style is not only the image of his subject, but of his 
mind. That pomp of language, that full and tuneful 
diction, that felicitousness in the choice and exquisiteness 
in the collocation of words, which to prosaic writers seem 
artificial, is nothing else but the mere habit and way of a 
lofty intellect. Aristotle, in his sketch of the magnani- 
mous man, tells us that his voice is deep, his motions slow, 
and his stature commanding. In like manner, the elocu- 
tion of a great intellect is great. His language expresses, 
not only his great thoughts, but his great self. Certainly 
he might use fewer words than he uses ; but he fertilizes 
his simplest ideas, and germinates into a multitude of 
details, and prolongs the march of his sentences, and 
sweeps round to the full diapason of his harmony, as if 
Kvhel'yaLwv, rejoicing in his own vigour and richness of re- 
source. I say, a narrow critic will call it verbiage, when 
really it is a sort of fulness of heart, parallel to that which 
makes the merry boy whistle as he walks, or the strong 
man, like the smith in the novel, flourish his club when 
there is no one to fight with. 

Shakespeare furnishes us with frequent instances of 
this peculiarity, and all so beautiful, that it is difficult to 
select for quotation. For instance, in Macbeth : — 

"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain, 
And, with some sweet obhvious antidote, 
Cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff, 
Which weighs upon the heart .'' " 

Here a simple idea, by a process which belongs to tb.e 
orator rather than to the poet, but still comes from the 
native vigour of genius, is expanded into a many-mem- 
bered period. 

Lite7'ature. 281 

The following from Hamlet is of the same kind : — 

" 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother. 
Nor customary suits of solemn black, 
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, 
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye. 
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage, 
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief, 
That can denote me truly.'' 

Now, if such declamation, for declamation it is, how- 
ever noble, be allowable in a poet, whose genius is so far 
removed from pompousness or pretence, much more is 
it allowable in an orator, whose very province it is to 
put forth words to the best advantage he can, Cicero 
has nothing more redundant in any part of his writings 
than these passages from Shakespeare. No lover then 
at least of Shakespeare may fairly accuse Cicero of 
gorgeousness of phraseology or diffuseness of style. 
Nor will any sound critic be tempted to do so. As a 
certain unaffected neatness and propriety and grace of 
diction may be required of any author who lays claim to 
be a classic, for the same reason that a certain attention 
to dress is expected of every gentleman, so to Cicero 
may be allowed the privilege of the " os magna sona- 
turum," of which the ancient critic speaks. His copious, 
majestic, musical flow of language, even if sometimes 
beyond what the subject-matter demands, is never out 
of keeping with the occasion or with the speaker. It is 
the expression of lofty sentiments in lofty sentences, the 
" mens magna in corpore magno." It is the develop- 
ment of the inner man. Cicero vividly realised the 
status of a Roman senator and statesman, and the 
" pride of place" of Rome, in all the grace and grandeur 
which attached to her ; and he imbibed, and became, 

282. Literature. 

A\ hat he admired. As the exploits of Scipio or Pompey 
are the expression of this greatness in deed, so the 
language of Cicero is the expression of it in word. And, 
as the acts of the Roman ruler or soldier represent to us, 
in a manner special to themselves, the characteristic 
magnanimity of the lords of the earth, so do the 
speeches or treatises of her accomplished orator bring it 
home to our imaginations as no other writing could do. 
Neither Livy, nor Tacitus, nor Terence, nor Seneca, nor 
Pliny, nor Quintilian, is an adequate spokesman for 
the Imperial City. They write Latin ; Cicero writes 

You will say that Cicero's language is undeniably 
studied, but that Shakespeare's is as undeniably natural 
and spontaneous ; and that this is what is meant, when 
the Classics are accused of being mere artists of words. 
Here we are introduced to a further large question, 
which gives me the opportunity of anticipating a misap- 
prehension of my meaning. I observe, then, that, not 
only is that lavish richness of style, which I have noticed 
in Shakespeare, justifiable on the principles which I have 
been laying down, but, what is less easy to receive, even 
elaborateness in composition is no mark of trick or 
artifice in an author. Undoubtedly the works of the 
Classics, particularly the Latin, are elaborate ; they have 
cost a great deal of time, care, and trouble. They have 
had many rough copies ; I grant it. I grant also that 
there are writers of name, ancient and modern, who really 
are guilty of the absurdity of making sentences, as the 
very'^end of their literary labour. Such was Isocrates ; 
such were some of the sophists ; they were set on word-;, 
to the neglect of thoughts or things; I cannot defend thcni. 

Litcraiwre. 2 S3 

If I must give an English instance of this fault, much as 
I love and revere the personal character and intellectual 
vigour of Dr. Johnson, I cannot deny that his style often 
outruns the sense and the occasion, and is wanting in 
that simplicity which is the attribute of genius. Still, 
granting all this, I cannot grant, notwithstanding, that 
genius never need take pains, — ^that genius may not im- 
prove by practice, — that it never incurs failures, and 
succeeds the second time, — that it never finishes off at 
leisure what it has thrown off in the outline at a stroke. 

Take the instance of the painter or the sculptor ; he 
has a conception in his mind which he wishes to repre- 
sent in the medium of his art ; — the Madonna and Child, 
or Innocence, or Fortitude, or some historical character 
or event. Do you mean to say he does not study his 
subject .'' does he not make sketches } does he not even 
call them " studies" } does he not call his workroom 
a studio ? is he not ever designing, rejecting, adopting, 
correcting, perfecting .'' Are not the first attempts of 
Michael Angelo and Raffaelle extant, in the case of 
some of their most celebrated compositions .'' Will any 
one say that the Apollo Belvidere is not a conception 
patiently elaborated into its proper perfection ^ These 
departments of taste are, according to the received 
notions of the world, the very province of genius, and yet 
we call them arts; they are the "Fine Arts." Why 
may not that be true of literary composition which is true 
of painting, sculpture, architecture, and music } Why 
may not language be wrought as well as the clay of the 
modeller ^ why may not words be worked up as well as 
colours } why should not skill in diction be simply sub- 
servient and instrumental to the great prototypal ideas 
which are the contemplation of a Plato or a Virgil .' 
Our greatest poet tells us. 

284 Liter atm'e. 

"The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, 
And, as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 

Now, is it wonderful that that pen of his should some 
times be at fault for a while, — that it should pause, 
write, erase, re-write, amend, complete, before he satisfies 
himself that his language has done justice to the 
conceptions which his mind's eye contemplated? 

In this point of view, doubtless, many or most writers 
are elaborate ; and those certainly not the least whose 
style is furthest removed from ornament, being simple 
and natural, or vehement, or severely business-like and 
practical. Who so energetic and manly as Demos- 
thenes ? Yet he is said to have transcribed Thucydides 
many times over in the formation of his style. Who so 
gracefully natural as Herodotus ,-' yet his very dialect 
is not his own, but chosen for the sake of the perfection 
of his narrative. Who exhibits such happy negligence 
as our own Addison .'' yet artistic fastidiousness was so 
notorious in his instance that the report has got abroad, 
truly or not, that he was too late in his issue of an 
important state-paper, from his habit of revision and re- 
composition. Such great authors were working by a 
model which was before the eyes of their intellect, and 
they were labouring to say what they had to say, in 
such a way as would most exactly and suitably express 
it. It is not wonderful that other authors, whose style 
is not simple, should be instances of a similar literary 
diligence. Virgil wished his yEneid to be burned, 
elaborate as is its composition, because he felt it needed 
more labour still, in order to make it perfect. The 

Literature ~8s 

historian Gibbon in the last century is another instance 
in point. You must not suppose I am going to recom- 
mend his style for imitation, any more than his principles ; 
but I refer to him as the example of a writer feeling the 
task which lay before him, feeling that he had to bring 
out into words for the comprehension of his readers a 
great and complicated scene, and wishing that those 
words should be adequate to his undertaking. I think 
he wrote the first chapter of his History three times 
over ; it was not that he corrected or improved the first 
copy ; but he put his first essay, and then his second, 
aside — he recast his matter, till he had hit the precise 
exhibition of it which he thought demanded by his 

Now in all these instances, I wish you to observe, 
that what I have admitted about literary workmanship 
differs from the doctrine which I am opposing in this, — 
that the mere dealer in words cares little or nothing for 
the subject which he is embellishing, but can paint and 
gild anything whatever to order ; whereas the artist, 
whom I am acknowledging, has his great or rich visions 
before him, and his only aim is to bring out what he 
thinks or what he feels in a way adequate to the thing 
spoken of, and appropriate to the speaker. 


The illustration which I have been borrowing from 
the Fine Arts will enable me to go a step further. I 
have been showing the connection of the thought with 
the language in literary composition ; and in doing so 
I have exposed the unphilosophical notion, that the 
language was an extra which could be dispensed with, 
and provided to order according to the demand. But I 
have not yet brought out, what immediately follows 

286 Literature. 

from this, and which was the second point which I had 
to show, viz., that to be capable of easy translation is no 
test of the excellence of a composition. If I must say 
what I think, I should lay down, with little hesitation, 
that the truth was almost the reverse of this doctrine. 
Nor are many words required to show it. Such a 
doctrine, as is contained in the passage of the author 
whom I quoted when I began, goes upon the assumption 
that one language is just like another language, — that 
every language has all the ideas, turns of thought, 
delicacies of expression, figures, associations, abstractions, 
points of view, which every other language has. Now, 
as far as regards Science, it is true that all languages 
are pretty much alike for the purposes of Science ; but 
even in this respect some are more suitable than 
others, which have to coin words, or to borrow them, in 
order to express scientific ideas. But if languages are 
not all equally adapted even to furnish symbols for 
those universal and eternal truths in which Science con- 
sists, how can they reasonably be expected to be all 
equally rich, equally forcible, equally musical, equally 
exact, equally happy in expressing the idiosyncratic 
peculiarities of thought of some original and fertile mind, 
who has availed himself of one of them } A great 
author takes his native language, masters it, partly 
throws himself into it, partly moulds and adapts it, and 
pours out his multitude of ideas through the variously 
ramified and delicately minute channels of expression 
^\llich he has found or framed : — does it follow that this 
his personal presence (as it may be called) can forth- 
with be transferred to every other language under the 
sun ? Then may we reasonably maintain that Beeth- 
oven's piatio music is not really beautiful, because it 
cannot be played on the hurdy-gurdy. Were not this 

Literature. 387 

astonishing doctrine maintained by persons far superior 
to the writer whom I have selected for animadversion, I 
should find it difficult to be patient under a gratuitous 
extravagance. It seems that a really great author must 
admit of translation, and that we have a test of his excel- 
lence when he reads to advantage in a foreign language 
as well as in his own. Then Shakespeare is a genius be- 
cause he can be translated into German, and not a genius 
because he cannot be translated into French. Then the 
multiplication-table is the most gifted of all conceivable 
compositions, because it loses nothing by translation, and 
can hardly be said to belong to any one language what- 
ever. Whereas I should rather have conceived that, in 
proportion as ideas are novel and recondite, they would 
be difficult to put into words, and that the very fact of 
their having insinuated themselves into one language 
would diminish the chance of that happy accident being 
repeated in another. In the language of savages you 
can hardly express any idea or act of the intellect at 
all : is the tongue of the Hottentot or Esquimaux to 
be made the measure of the genius of Plato, Pindar, 
Tacitus, St. Jerome, Dante, or Cervantes ? 

Let us recur, I say, to the illustration of the Fine 
Arts. I suppose you can express ideas in painting 
which you cannot express in sculpture ; and the more 
an artist is of a painter, the less he is likely to be of 
a sculptor. The more he commits his genius to the 
methods and conditions of his own art, the less he will 
be able to throw himself into the circumstances of 
another. Is the genius of Fra Angelico, of Francia, or 
of Raffaelle disparaged by the fact that he was able to 
do that in colours which no man that ever lived, which 
no Angel, could achieve in wood } Each of the Fine 
Arts has its own subject-matter ; from the nature of the 

nS8 Literature. 

case you can do in one what you cannot do in another ; 
you can do in painting what you cannot do in carving ; 
you can do in oils what you cannot do in fresco ; you 
can do in marble what you cannot do in ivory ; you can 
do in wax what you cannot do in bronze. Then, I 
repeat, applying this to the case of languages, why 
should not genius be able to do in Greek what it cannot 
do in Latin ? and why are its Greek and Latin works 
defective because they will not turn into English ? That 
genius, of which we are speaking, did not make English ; 
it did not make all languages, present, past, and future ; 
it did not make the laws of any language : why is it to 
be judged of by that in which it had no part, over which 
it has no control ? 


And now we are naturally brought on to our third 
point, which is on the characteristics of Holy Scripture 
as compared with profane literature. Hitherto we have 
been concerned with the doctrine of these writers, viz., 
that style is an extra, that it is a mere artifice, and that 
hence it cannot be translated ; now we come to their 
fact, viz., that Scripture has no such artificial style, and 
that Scripture can easily be translated. Surely thei- 
fact is as untenable as their doctrine. 

Scripture easy of translation ! then why have there 
been so few good translators } why is it that there 
has been such great diflliculty in combining the two 
necessary qualities, fidelity to the original and purity in 
the adopted vernacular } why is it that the author- 
ized versions of the Church are often so inferior to 
the original as compositions, except that the Church 
is bound above all things to see that the version is doc- 
trinally correct, and in a difficult problem is obliged to 

Literature. 289 

put up with defects in what is of secondary importance, 
provided she secure what is of first ? If it were so 
easy to transfer the beauty of the original to the copy, 
she would not have been content with her received 
version in various languages which could be named. 

And then in the next place. Scripture not elaborate ! 
Scripture not ornamented in diction, and musical in 
cadence ! Why, consider the Epistle to the Hebrews — 
where is there in the classics any composition more care- 
fully, more artificially written ? Consider the book of 
Job — is it not a sacred drama, as artistic, as perfect, 
as any Greek tragedy of Sophocles or Euripides ? Con- 
sider the Psalter — are there no ornaments, no rhythm, no 
studied cadences, no responsive members, in that divinely 
beautiful book ? And is it not hard to understand ? are 
not the Prophets hard to understand ? is not St. Paul 
hard to understand ? Who can say that these are 
popular compositions ? who can say that they are level 
at first reading with the understandings of the mul- 
titude } 

That there are portions indeed of the inspired volume 
more simple both in style and in meaning, and that 
these are the more sacred and sublime passages, as, 
for instance, parts of the Gospels, I grant at once ; 
but this does not militate against the doctrine I have 
been laying down. Recollect, Gentlemen, my distinction 
when I began. I have said Literature is one thing, and 
that Science is another ; that Literature has to do with 
ideas, and Science with realities ; that Literature is of 
a personal character, that Science treats of what is 
universal and eternal. In proportion, then, as Scripture 
excludes the personal colouring of its writers, and rises 
into the region of pure and mere inspiration, when it 
ceases in any sense to be the writing of man, of St Paul 
7* 19 

2 go Literature. 

or St. John, of Moses or Isaias, then it comes to belong 
to Science, not Literature. Then it conveys the things 
of heaven, unseen verities, divine manifestations, and 
them alone — not the ideas, the feelings, the aspirations, 
of its human instruments, who, for all that they were 
inspired and infallible, did not cease to be men. St. 
Paul's epistles, then, I consider to be literature in a real 
and true sense, as personal, as rich in reflection and 
emotion, as Demosthenes or Euripides ; and, without 
ceasing to be revelations of objective truth, they are 
expressions of the subjective notwithstanding. On the 
other hand, portions of the Gospels, of the book of 
Genesis, and other passages of the Sacred Volume, 
are of the nature of Science. Such is the beginning of 
St. John's Gospel, which we read at the end of Mass. 
Such is the Creed. I mean, passages such as these are 
the mere enunciation of eternal things, without (so to 
say) the medium of any human mind transmitting them 
to us. The words used have the grandeur, the majesty, 
the calm, unimpassioned beauty of Science ; they are in 
no sense Literature, they are in no sense personal ; and 
therefore they are easy to apprehend, and easy to 

Did time admit I could show you parallel instances of 
what I am speaking of in the Classics, inferior to the 
inspired word in proportion as the subject-matter of the 
classical authors is immensely inferior to the subjects 
treated of in Scripture — but parallel, inasmuch as the 
classical author or speaker ceases for the moment to 
have to do with Literature, as speaking of things 
objectively, and rises to the serene sublimity of Science. 
But I should be carried too far if I began. 

Literature. 291 

I shall then merely sum up what I have said, and 
come to a conclusion. Reverting, then, to my original 
question, what is the meaning of Letters, as contained, 
Gentlemen, in the designation of your Faculty, I have 
answered, that by Letters or Literature is meant the 
expression of thought in language, where by " thought" 
I mean the ideas, feelings, views, reasonings, and other 
operations of the human mind. And the Art of Letters 
is the method by which a speaker or writer brings out 
in words, worthy of his subject, and suifficient for his 
audience or readers, the thoughts which impress him. 
Literature, then, is of a personal character ; it consists in 
the enunciations and teachings of those who have a right 
to speak as representatives of their kind, and in whose 
words their brethren find an interpretation of their own 
sentiments, a record of their own experience, and a 
suggestion for their own judgments. A great author, 
Gentlemen, is not one who merely has a copia verboruni, 
whether in prose or verse, and can, as it were, turn on at 
his will any number of splendid phrases and swelling 
sentences ; but he is one who has something to say and 
knows how to say it. I do not claim for him, as such, 
any great depth of thought, or breadth of view, or 
philosophy, or sagacity, or knowledge of human nature, 
or experience of human life, though these additional 
gifts he may have, and the more he has of them the 
greater he is ; but I ascribe to him, as his characteristic 
gift, in a large sense the faculty of Expression. He is 
master of the two-fold Logos, the thought and the word, 
distinct, but inseparable from each other. He may, if so 

2g2 Literature. 

be, elaborate his compositions, or he may pour out his 
improvisations, but in either case he has but one aim, 
which he keeps steadily before him, and is conscientious 
and single-minded in fulfilling. That aim is to give forth 
what he has within him ; and from his very earnestness 
it comes to pass that, whatever be the splendour of his 
diction or the harmony of his periods, he has with him 
the charm of an incommunicable simplicity. Whatever 
be his subject, high or low, he treats it suitably and for 
its own sake. If he is a poet, "nil molitur ineptk" If he 
is an orator, then too he speaks, not only "distincte" and 
" splendid^," but also " c^te." His page is the lucid 
mirror of his mind and life — 

" Quo fit, ut omnis 
Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabelli 
Vita senis." 

He writes passionately, because he feels keenly ; 
forcibly, because he conceives vividly ; he sees too clearly 
to be vague ; he is too serious to be otiose ; he can 
analyze his subject, and therefore he is rich ; he embraces 
it as a whole and in its parts, and therefore he is 
consistent ; he has a firm hold of it, and therefore he is 
luminous. When his imagination wells up, it overflows 
in ornament ; when his heart is touched, it thrills along 
his verse. He always has the right word for the right 
idea, and never a word too much. If he is brief, it is 
because few words suffice; when he is lavish of them, still 
each word has its mark, and aids, not embarrasses, the 
vigorous march of his elocution. He expresses what all 
feel, but all cannot say ; and his sayings pass into 
proverbs among his people, and his phrases become 
household words and idioms of their daily speech, which 

Literature. 293 

is tesselated with the rich fragments of his language, 
as we see in foreign lands the marbles of Roman gran- 
deur worked into the walls and pavements of modern 

Such pre-eminently is Shakespeare among ourselves ; 
such pre-eminently Virgil among the Latins ; such in 
their degree are all those writers who in every nation 
go by the name of Classics. To particular nations they 
are necessarily attached from the circumstance of the 
variety of tongues, and the peculiarities of each ; but so 
far they have a catholic and ecumenical character, that 
what they express is common to the whole race of man, 
and they alone are able to express it. 


If then the power of speech is a gift as great as any 
that can be named, — if the origin of language is by 
many philosophers even considered to be nothing short 
of divine, — if by means of words the secrets of the heart 
are brought to light, pain of soul is relieved, hidden 
grief is carried off, sympathy conveyed, counsel imparted, 
experience recorded, and wisdom perpetuated, — if by 
great authors the many are drawn up into unity, na- 
tional character is fixed, a people speaks, the past and 
the future, the East and the West are brought into 
communication with each other, — if such men are, in a 
word, the spokesmen and prophets of the human family, 
— it will not answer to make light of Literature or 
to neglect its study ; rather we may be sure that, in 
proportion as we master it in whatever language, and 
imbibe its spirit, we shall ourselves become in our 
own measure the ministers ^i like benefits to others, 

294 Literature. 

be they many or few, be they in the obscurer or the more 
distinguished walks of Hfe, — who are united to us by 
social ties, and are within the sphere of our personal 



ONE of the special objects which a Catholic Uni- 
versity would promote is that of the formation 
of a Catholic Literature in the English language. It is an 
object, however, which must be understood before it 
can be suitably prosecuted ; and which will not be 
uuderstood without some discussion and investigation. 
First ideas on the subject must almost necessarily be 
crude. The real state of the case, what is desirable, 
v/hat is possible, has to be ascertained ; and then what 
has to be done, and what is to be expected. We have 
seen in public matters, for half a year past, * to what 
mistakes, and to what disappointments, the country 
has been exposed, from not having been able distinctly 
to put before it what was to be aimed at by its fleets and 
armies, what was practicable, what was probable, in 
operations of war : and so, too, in the field of literature, 
we are sure of falling into a parallel perplexity and 
dissatisfaction, if we start with a vague notion of doing 
something or other important by means of a Catholic 
University, without having the caution to examine what 
is feasible, and what is unnecessary or hopeless. Ac- 
cordingly, it is natural I should wish to direct attention 
to this subject, even though it be too difficult to handle 
in any exact or complete way, and though my attempt 
must be left for others to bring into a more perfect shape, 
who are more fitted for the task. 

Here I shall chiefly employ myself in investigating 
what the object is not. 

♦ August, 1854. 


§. I. In its relation to Religions Literature. 

WHEN a " Catholic Literature in the English 
tongue" is spoken of as a desideratum, no reason- 
able person will mean by " Catholic works" much more 
than the " works of Catholics." The phrase does not 
mean a religious literature. " Religious Literature" 
indeed would mean much more than " the Literature of 
religious men ;" it means over and above this, that the 
subject-matter of the Literature is religious ; but by 
" Catholic Literature" is not to be understood a litera- 
ture which treats exclusively or primarily of Catholic 
matters, of Catholic doctrine, controversy, history, per- 
sons, or politics ; but it includes all subjects of literature 
whatever, treated as a Catholic would treat them, and 
as he only can treat them. Why it is important to have 
them treated by Catholics hardly need be explained 
here, though something will be incidentally said on the 
point as we proceed : meanwhile I am drawing atten- 
tion to the distinction between the two phrases in order 
to avoid a serious misapprehension. For it is evident 
that, if by a Catholic Literature were meant nothing 
more or less than a religious literature, its writers would 
be mainly ecclesiastics ; just as writers on Law are 
mainly lawyers, and writers on Medicine are mainly 
physicians or surgeons. And if this be so, a Catholic 
Literature is no object special to a University, unless a 
University is to be considered identical with a Seminary 
or a Theological School. 

Eiiglish Catholic Literature. 1:^1 

I am not denying that a University might prove of the 
greatest benefit even to our religious literature ; doubt- 
less it would, and in various ways ; still it is concerned 
with Theology only as one great subject of thought, as the 
greatest indeed which can occupy the human mind, yet 
not as the adequate or direct scope of its institution. 
Yet I suppose it is not impossible for a literary layman 
to wince at the idea, and to shrink from the proposal, 
of taking part in a scheme for the formation of a Catholic 
Literature, under the apprehension that in some way or 
another he will be entangling himself in a semi-clerical 
occupation. It is not uncommon, on expressing an 
anticipation that the Professors of a Catholic University 
will promote a Catholic Literature, to have to encounter 
a vague notion that a lecturer or writer so employed 
must have something polemical about him, must 
moralize or preach, must (in Protestant language) 
improve the occasion, though his subject is not at all a 
religious one ; in short, that he must do something else 
besides fairly and boldly go right on, and be a Catholic 
speaking as a Catholic spontaneously will speak, on the 
Classics, or Fine Arts, or Poetry, or whatever he has 
taken in hand. Men think that he cannot give a lecture 
on Comparative Anatomy without being bound to 
digress into the Argument from Final Causes ; that he 
cannot recount the present geological theories without 
forcing them into an interpretation seriatim of the first 
two chapters of Genesis. Many, indeed, seem to go 
further still, and actually pronounce that, since our own 
University has been recommended by the Holy See, and 
is established by the Hierarchy, it cannot but be engaged 
m teaching religion and nothing else, and must and will 
have the discipline of a Seminary ; which is about as 
sensible and logical a view of the matter as it would be 

298 English Catholic Literature. 

to maintain that the Prime Minister ipso facto holds an 
ecclesiastical office, since he is always a Protestant ; or 
tiiat the members of the House of Commons must neces- 
sarily have been occupied in clerical duties, as long as 
they took an oath about Transubstantiation. Catholic 
Literature is not synonymous with Theology, nor does it 
supersede or interfere with the work of catechists, divines, 
preachers, or schoolmeru 


§. 2. In its relation to Science* 

AND next, it must be borne in mind, that when we 
aim at providing a Catholic Literature for Cathohcs, 
in place of an existing literature which is of a marked 
Protestant character, we do not, strictly speaking, 
include the pure sciences in our desideratum. Not that 
we should not feel pleased and proud to find Catholics 
distinguish themselves in publications on abstract or 
experimental philosophy, on account of the honour it 
does to our religion in the eyes of the world ; — not that 
we are insensible to the congruity and respectability of 
depending in these matters on ourselves, and not on 
others, at least as regards our text-books ; — not that we 
do not confidently anticipate that Catholics of these 
countries will in time to come be able to point to 
authorities and discoverers in science of their own, equal 
to those of Protestant England, Germany, or Sweden ; — 
but because, as regards mathematics, chemistry, as- 
tronomy, and similar subjects, one man will not, on the 
score of his religion, treat of them better than another, 
and because the works of even an unbeliever or idolater, 
while he kept within the strict range of such studies, 
might be safely admitted into Catholic lecture-rooms, 
and put without scruple into the hands of Catholic youths. 
There is no crjang demand, no imperative necessity, 
for our acquisition of a Catholic Euclid or a Catholic 
Newton. The object of all science is truth ; — the pure 

oo Eiiplish Catholic Literature. 


sciences proceed to their enunciations from principles 
which the intellect discerns by a natural light, and by 
a process recognized by natural reason ; and the experi- 
mental sciences investigate facts by methods of analysis 
or by ingenious e^'pedients, ultimately resolvable into 
instruments of thought equally native to the human 
mind. If then we may assume that there is an objective 
truth, and that the constitution of the human mind is 
in correspondence with it, and acts truly when it acts 
according to its own laws ; if we may assume that God 
made us, and that what He made is good, and that 
no action from and according to nature can in itself be 
evil ; it will follow that, so long as it is man who is the 
geometrician, or natural philosopher, or mechanic, or 
critic, no matter what man he be, Hindoo, Mahometan, 
or infidel, his conclusions within his own science, accord- 
ing to the laws of that science, are unquestionable, and 
not to be suspected by Catholics, unless Catholics may 
legitimately be jealous of fact and truth, of divine 
principles and divine creations. 

I have been speaking of the scientific treatises or 
investigations of those who are not Catholics, to which 
the subject of Literature leads me ; but I might even go 
on to speak of them in their persons as well as in their 
books. Were it not for the scandal which they would 
create ; were it not for the example they would set ; 
were it not for the certain tendency of the human mind 
involuntarily to outleap the strict boundaries of an 
abstract science, and to teach it upon extraneous princi- 
ples, to embody it in concrete examples, and to carry it 
on to practical conclusions ; above all, were it not for 
the indirect influence, and living energetic presence, and 
collateral duties, which accompany a Professor in a great 
school of learning, I do not see (abstracting from him, I 

English Catholic Literature. 301 

repeat, in hypothesis, what never could possibly be 
abstracted from him in fact), wliy the chair of Astronomy 
in a Catholic University should not be filled by a La 
Place, or that of Physics by a Humboldt. Whatever 
they might wish to say, still, while they kept to their 
own science, they would be unable, like the heathen 
Prophet in Scripture, to " go beyond the word of the 
Lord, to utter any thing of their own head." 


So far the arguments hold good of certain celebrated 
writers in a Northern Review, who, in their hostility to 
the principle of dogmatic teaching, seem obliged to 
maintain, because subject-matters are distinct, that 
Hving opinions are distinct too, and that men are 
abstractions as well as their respective sciences. " On 
the morning of the thirteenth of August, in the year 
1704," says a justly celebrated author, in illustration and 
defence of the anti-dogmatic principle in political and 
social matters, " two great captains, equal in authority, 
united by close private and public ties, but of different 
creeds, prepared for battle, on the event of which were 
staked the liberties of Europe. . . Marlborough gave 
orders for public prayers ; the English chaplains read 
the service at the head of the English regiments ; the 
Calvinistic chaplains of the Dutch army, with heads on 
which hand of Bishop had never been laid, poured forth 
their supplications in front of their countrymen. In the 
meantime the Danes might listen to the Lutheran 
ministers ; and Capuchins might encourage the Austrian 
squadrons, and pray to the Virgin for a blessing on the 
arms of the holy Roman Empire. The battle com- 
mences ; these men of various religions all act like 
members of one body : the Catholic and the Protestant 

02 En owlish Catholic Literature. 


generals exert themselves to assist and to surpass each 
other ; before sunset the Empire is saved ; France has 
lost in a day the fruits of eight years of intrigue and of 
victory ; and the allies, after conquering together, return 
thanks to God separately, each after his own form of 
worship." * 

The writer of this lively passage would be doubtless 
unwilling himself to carry out the principle which it 
insinuates to those extreme conclusions to which it is 
often pushed by others, in matters of education. Viewed 
in itself, viewed in the abstract, that principle is simply, 
undeniably true ; and is only sophistical when it is 
carried out in practical matters at all, A religious 
opinion, though not formally recognized, cannot fail of 
influencing in fact the school, or society, or polity in 
which it is found ; though in the abstract that opinion 
is one thing, and the school, society, or polity, another. 
Here were Episcopalians, Lutherans, Calvinists, and 
Catholics found all fighting on one side, it is true, with- 
out any prejudice to their respective religious tenets : 
and, certainly, I never heard that in a battle soldiers 
did do any thing else but fight. I did not know they 
had time for going beyond the matter in hand ; yet, 
even as regards this very illustration which he has 
chosen, if we were bound to decide by it the contro- 
versy, it does so happen that that danger of interference 
and collision between opposite religionists actually does 
occur upon a campaign, which could not be incurred in a 
battle : and at this very time some jealousy or disgust 
has been shown in English popular publications, when 
they have had to record that our ally, the Emperor of 
the French, has sent his troops, who are serving with 
the British against the Russians, to attend High Mass, 

• Macau lay's Essays. 

English Catholic Literature. 305 

or has presented his sailors with a picture of the 

If, then, we could have Professors who were mere 
abstractions and phantoms, marrowless in their bones, 
and without speculation in their eyes ; or if they could 
only open their mouths on their own special subject, and 
in their scientific pedantry w^ere dead to the world ; if 
they resembled the well known character in the Romance, 
who was so imprisoned or fossilized in his erudition, 
that, though " he stirred the fire with some address," 
nevertheless, on attempting to snuff the candles, he 
" was unsuccessful, and relinquished that ambitious post 
of courtesy, after having twice reduced the parlour to 
total darkness," then indeed Voltaire himself might be 
admitted, not without scandal, but without risk, to lecture 
on astronomy or galvanism in Catholic, or Protestant, 
or Presbyterian Colleges, or in all of them at once; and 
we should have no practical controversy with philoso- 
phers who, after the fashion of the author I have been 
quoting, are so smart in proving that we, who differ from 
them, must needs be so bigotted and puzzle-headed. 

And in strict conformity with these obvious distinc- 
tions, it will be found that, so far as we are able to 
reduce scientific men of anti-Catholic opinions to the 
type of the imaginary bookworm to whom I have been 
alluding, we do actually use them in our schools. We 
allow our Catholic student to use them, so far as he can 
surprise them (if I may use the expression), in their 
formal treatises, and can keep them close prisoners there. 

Vix defessa senem passus componere membra, 
Cum clamore ruit magno, manicisque jacentem 

The fisherman, in the Arabian tale, took no harm from 

304 English Catholic Literature. 

the genius, till he let him out from the brass bottle in 
which he was confined. " Ke examined the vessel and 
shook it, to see if what was within made any noise, but 
he heard nothing." All was safe till he had succeeded 
in opening it, and "then came out a very thick smoke, 
which, ascending to the clouds and extending itself 
along the sea shore in a thick mist, astonished him very 
much. After a time the smoke collected, and was con- 
verted into a genius of enormous height. At the sight 
of this monster, whose head appeared to reach the 
clouds, the fisherman tremlDled with fear." Such is the 
difference between an unbelieving or heretical philoso- 
pher in person, and in the mere disquisitions proper to his 
science. Porson M^as no edifying companion for young 
men of eighteen, nor are his letters on the text of the 
Three Heavenly Witnesses to be recommended ; but 
that does not hinder his being admitted into Catholic 
schools, while he is confined within the limits of his Pre- 
face to the Hecuba. Franklin certainly would have 
been intolerable in person, if he began to talk freely, 
and throw out, as I think he did in private, that each 
solar system had its own god ; but such extravagances 
of so able a man do not interfere with the honour we 
justly pay his name in the history of experimental 
science. Nay, the great Newton himself would have 
been silenced in a Catholic University, when he got 
upon the Apocalypse ; yet is that any reason why we 
should not study his Principia, or avail ourselves of the 
wonderful analysis which he, Protestant as he was, 
originated, and which French infidels have developed .-• 
We are glad, for their own sakes, that anti-Catholic 
writers should, in their posthumous influence, do as 
much real service to the human race as ever they can, 
and we have no wish to interfere with it. 

English Catholic Lite) at lire. 305 


Returning, then, to the point from which we set out, I 
observe that, this being the state of the case as regards 
abstract science, viz., that we have no quarrel with its 
anti-CathoHc commentators, till they thrust their persons 
into our Chairs, or their popular writings into our read- 
ing-rooms, it follows that, when we contemplate the 
formation of a Catholic Literature, we do not consider 
scientilic works as among our most prominent desiderata. 
They are to be looked for, not so much for their own 
sake, as because they are indications that we have able 
scientific men in our communion ; for if we have such, 
they will be certain to write, and in proportion as they 
increase in number will there be the chance of really 
profound, original, and standard books issuing from our 
Lecture-rooms and Libraries. But, after all, there is no 
reason why these should be better than those which we 
have already received from Protestants ; though it is at 
once more becoming and more agreeable to our feelings 
to use books of our own, instead of being indebted to 
the books of others. 

Literature, then, is not synonymous with Science ; 
nor does Catholic education imply the exclusion of 
works of abstract reasoning, or of physical experiment, 
or the like, though written by persons of another or of 
no communion. 

There is another consideration in point here, or rather 
prior to what I have been saying ; and that is, that, 
considering certain scientific works, those on Criticism, 
for instance, are so often written in a technical phrase- 
ology, and since others, as mathematical, deal so largely 
in signs, symbols, and figures, which belong to all lan- 
guages, these abstract studies cannot properly be said to 
7 » 20 

'<c6 En polish Catholic Literature. 


fall under English Literaturs at all; — for by Literature 
I understand Thought, conveyed under the forms of 
some particular language. And this brings me to speak 
of Literature in its highest and most genuine sense, viz., 
as an historical and national fact; and I fear, in this 
sense of the word also, it is altogether beside or beyond 
any object which a Catholic University can reasonably 
contemplate, at least in any moderate term of years ; 
but so large a subject here opens upon us that I must 
postpone it to another Section, 


§. 3* -^ ^is relation to Classical Literature, 


I HAVE been directing the reader's attention, first 
to what we do not, and next to what we need not 
contemplate, when we turn our thoughts to the formation 
of an English Catholic Literature. I said that our 
object was neither a library of theological nor of scien- 
tific knowledge, though theology in its literary aspect, 
and abstract science as an exercise of intellect, have 
both of course a place in the Catholic encyclopaedia. 
One undertaking, however, there is, which not merely 
does not, and need not, but unhappily cannot, come into 
the reasonable contemplation of any set of persons, 
whether members of a University or not, who are desi- 
rous of Catholicizing the English language, as is very 
evident ; and that is simply the creation of an English 
Classical Literature, for that has been done long ago, 
and would be a work beyond the powers of any body of 
men, even if it had still to be done. If I insist on this 
point here, no one must suppose I do not consider it to 
be self-evident ; for I shall not be aiming at proving it, so 
much as at bringing it home distinctly to the mind, that 
we may, one and all, have a clearer perception of the 
state of things with which we have to deal. There is 
many an undeniable truth which is not practically felt 
and appreciated ; and, unless we master our position in 
the matter before us, we may be led off into various 
wild imaginations or impossible schemes, which will, as 
a matter of course, end in disappointment. 

3o8 English Catholic Literature. 

Were the Catholic Church acknowledged from this mo- 
ment through the length and breadth of these islands, and 
the English tongue henceforth baptized into the Catholic 
faith, and sealed and consecrated to Catholic objects, and 
were the present intellectual activity of the nation to con- 
tinue, as of course it would continue, we should at once 
have an abundance of Catholic works, which would be 
l^nglish, and purely English, literature and high litera- 
ture; but still all these would not constitute " English 
Literature," as the words are commonly understood, nor 
even then could we say that the " English Literature " 
was Catholic. Much less can we ever aspire to affirm it, 
while we are but a portion of the vast English-speaking 
world-wide race, and are but striving to create a current 
in the direction of Catholic truth, when the waters are 
rapidly flowing the other way. In no case can we, 
strictly speaking, form an English Literature ; for by 
the Literature of a Nation is meant its Classics, and its 
Classics have been given to England, and have been 
recognized as such, long since. 


A Literature, when it is formed, is a national and 
historical fact ; it is a matter of the past and the present, 
and can be as little ignored as the present, as little undone 
as the past. We can deny, supersede, or change it, then 
only, when we can do the same towards the race or lan- 
guage which it represents. Every great people has a cha- 
racter of its own, which it manifests and perpetuates in 
a variety of ways. It developes into a monarchy or re- 
public; — by means of commerce or in war, in ay^riculture or 
in manufactures, or in all of these at once ; in its cities, its 
public edifices and works, bridges, canals, and harbours ; 
in its laws, traditions, customs, and manners; in its songs 

E))glhh Catholic Literature. 309 

and its proverbs ; in its religion ; in its line of policy, its 
bearing, its action towards foreign nations ; in its alliances, 
fortunes, and the whole course of its history. All these 
are peculiar, and parts of a whole, and betoken the 
national character, and savour of each other ; and the 
case is the same with the national language and litera- 
ture. They are what they are, and cannot be any thing 
else, whether they be good or bad or of a mixed nature ; 
before they are formed, we cannot prescribe them, and 
afterwards, we ca mot reverse them. We may feel great 
repugnance to Milton or Gibbon as men ; we may most 
seriously protest against the spirit which ever lives, and 
the tendency which ever operates, m every page of 
their writings ; but there they are, an integral portion 
of English Literature ; we cannot extinguish them ; we 
cannot deny their power ; we cannot write a new Milton 
or a new Gibbon ; we cannot expurgate what needs to 
be exorcised. They are great English authors, each 
breathing hatred to the Catholic Church in his own way, 
each a proud and rebellious creature of God, each gifted 
with incomparable gifts. 

We must take things as they are, if we take them at all. 
We may refuse to say a word to English literature, if we 
will; we may have recourse to French or to Italian instead, 
if we think either of these less exceptionable than our own ; 
we may fall back upon the Classics of Greece and Rome; 
we may have nothing whatever to do with literature, as 
such, of any kind, and confine ourselves to purely amor- 
phous or monstrous specimens of language ; but if we 
do once profess in our Universities the English language 
and literature, if we think it allowable to know the state 
of things we live in, and that national character which we 
share, if we think it desirable to have a chance of writing 
what may be read after our day, and praiseworthy to aim 

3IO English Catholic Literature. 

at providing for Catholics who speak English a Catho- 
lic Literature then — I do not say that we must at once 
throw open every sort of book to the young, the weak, or 
the untrained, — I do not say that we may dispense with 
our ecclesiastical indexes and emendations, but — we must 
not fancy ourselves creating what is already created in 
spite of us, and which never could at a moment be created 
by means of us, and we must recognize that historical 
literature, which is in occupation of the language, both 
as a fact, nay, and as a standard for ourselves. 

There is surely nothing either " temerarious " or para- 
doxical in a statement like this. The growth of a nation 
is like that of an individual ; its tone of voice and subjects 
for speech vary with its age. Each age has its own pro- 
priety and charm ; as a boy's beauty is not a man's, and 
the sweetness of a treble differs from the richness of a 
bass, so it is with a whole people. The same period does 
not produce its most popular poet, its most effective orator, 
and its most philosophic historian. Language changes 
with the progress of thought and the events of history, and 
style changes with it; and while in successive generations 
it passes through a series of separate excellences, the 
respective deficiencies of all are supplied alternately by 
each. Thus language and literature may be considered as 
dependent on a process of nature, and admitting of subjec- 
tion to her laws. Father Hardouin indeed, who maintained 
that, with the exception of Pliny, Cicero, Virgil's Georgics, 
and Horace's Satires and Epistles, Latin literature was the 
work of the medieval monks, had the conception of a 
hterature neither national nor historical ; but the rest of 
the world will be apt to consider time and place as neces- 
sary conditions in its formation, and will be unable to con- 
ceive of classical authors, except as either the elaboration 
of centuries, or the rare and fitful accident of genius. 

Endis>h Catholic Literature. 311 


First-rate excellence in literature, as in other matters, 
is either an accident or the outcome of a process ; and in 
either case demands a course of years to secure. We can- 
not reckon on a Plato, we cannot force an Aristotle, any- 
more than we can command a fine harvest, or create a 
coal field. If a literature be, as I have said, the voice of a 
particular nation, it requires a territory and a period, as 
large as that nation's extent and history, to mature in. 
It is broader and deeper than the capacity of any body 
of men, however gifted, or any system of teaching, 
however true. It is the exponent, not of truth, but of 
nature, which is true only in its elements. It is the 
result of the mutual action of a hundred simultaneous 
influences and operations, and the issue of a hundred 
strange accidents in independent places and times ; it is 
the scanty compensating produce of the wild discipline 
of the world and of life, so fruitful in failures ; and it is 
the concentration of those rare manifestations of intel- 
lectual power, which no one can account for. It is made 
up, in the particular language here under consideration, 
of human beings as heterogeneous as Burns and Bunyan, 
De Foe and Johnson, Goldsmith and Cowper, Law and 
Fielding, Scott and Byron. The remark has been made 
that the history of an author is the history of his works ; 
it is far more exact to say that, at least in the case of great 
writers, the history of their works is the history of their 
fortunes or their times. Each is, in his turn, the man of 
his age, the type of a generation, or the interpreter of a 
crisis. He is made for his day, and his day for him. 
Hooker would not have been, but for the existence of 
Catholics and Puritans, the defeat of the former and the 
rise of the latter ; Clarendon would not have been with- 
out the Great Rebellion ; Hobbes is the prophet of the 
reaction to scoffing infidelity ; and Addison is the child 

312 English Catholic Literature. 

of the Revolution and its attendant changes. If there be 
any of our classical authors, who might at first sight have 
been pronounced a University man, with the exception of 
Johnson, Addison is he ; yet even Addison, the son and 
brother of clergymen, the fellow of an Oxford Society, 
the resident of a College which still points to the walk 
which he planted, must be something more, in order to 
take his place among the Classics of the language, and 
owed the variety of his matter to his experience of life, 
and to the call made on his resources by the exigencies 
of his day. The world he lived in made him and used 
him. While his writings educated his own generation, 
they have delineated it for all posterity after him. 


I have been speaking of the authors of a literature, in 
their relation to the people and course of events to 
which they belong ; but a prior consideration, at which 
I have already glanced, is their connection with the 
language itself, which has been their organ. If they are 
in great measure the creatures of their times, they are 
on the other hand in a far higher sense the creators of 
their language. It is indeed commonly called their 
mother tongue, but virtually it did not exist till they 
gave it life and form. All greater matters are carried 
on and perfected by a succession of individual minds ; 
what is true in the history of thought and of action is 
true of language also. Certain masters of composition, 
as Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope, the writers of the 
Protestant Bible and Prayer Book, Hooker and Addi- 
son, Swift, Hume, and Goldsmith, have been the making 
of the English language ; and as that language is a fact, 
so is the literature a fact, by which it is formed, and in 
which it lives. Men of great ability have taken it in 

Eiio/ish Cat Jiolic Literature. 313 


hand, each in his own day, and have done for it what 
the master of a gymnasium does for the bodily frame. 
They have formed its limbs, and developed its strength ; 
they have endowed it with vigour, exercised it in sup- 
pleness and dexterity, and taught it grace. They have 
made it rich, harmonious, various, and precise. They 
have furnished it with a variety of styles, which from 
their individuality may almost be called dialects, and are 
monuments both of the powers of the language and the 
genius of its cultivators. 

How real a creation, how sni generis, is the style of 
Shakespeare, or of the Protestant Bible and Prayer 
Book, or of Swift, or of Pope, or of Gibbon, or of John- 
son 1 Even were the subject-matter without meaning, 
though in truth the style cannot really be abstracted 
from the sense, still the style would, on that supposition, 
remain as perfect and original a work as Euclid's ele- 
ments or a symphony of Beethoven. And, like music, 
it has seized upon the public mind ; and the literature 
of England is no longer a mere letter, printed in books, 
and shut up in libraries, but it is a living voice, which 
has gone forth in its expressions and its sentiments into 
the world of men, which daily thrills upon our ears and 
syllables our thoughts, which speaks to us through our 
correspondents, and dictates when we put pen to paper. 
Whether we will or no, the phraseology and diction of 
Shakespeare, of the Protestant formularies, of Milton, 
of Pope, of Johnson's Tabletalk, and of Walter Scott, 
have become a portion of the vernacular tongue, the 
household words, of which perhaps we little guess the 
origin, and the very idioms of our familiar conversation. 
The man in the comedy spoke prose without knowing 
it ; and we Catholics, without consciousness and without 
offence, are ever repeating the half sentences of dissolute 

314 English Catholic Literature. 

playwrights and heretical partizans and preachers. So 
tyrannous is the literature of a nation ; it is too much 
for us. We cannot destroy or reverse it ; we may con- 
front and encounter it, but we cannot make it over 
again. It is a great work of man, when it is no work of 

I repeat, then, whatever we be able or unable to effect 
in the great problem which lies before us, any how we 
cannot undo the past. English Literature will ever have 
been Protestant. Swift and Addison, the most native 
and natural of our writers. Hooker and Milton, the most 
elaborate, never can become our co-religionists ; and, 
though this is but the enunciation of a truism, it is not 
on that account an unprofitable enunciation. 


I trust we are not the men to give up an undertaking 
because it is perplexed or arduous ; and to do nothing 
because we cannot do everything. Much may be at- 
tempted, much attained, even granting English Litera- 
ture is not Catholic. Something indeed may be said 
even in alleviation of the misfortune itself, on which I 
have been insisting ; and with two remarks bearing upon 
this latter point I will bring this Section to an end. 

I. First, then, it is to be considered that, whether we 
look to countries Christian or heathen, we find the state of 
] iterature there as little satisfactory as it is in these islands ; 
so that, whatever are our difiliculties here, they are not 
worse than those of Catholics all over the world. I would 
not indeed say a word to extenuate the calamity, under 
which we lie, of having a literature formed in Protestant- 
ism ; still, other literatures have disadvantages of their 
own ; and, though in such matters comparisons are im- 
possible, I doubt whether we should be better pleased if 

English Catholic Literature. 315 

our English Classics were tainted with licentiousness, or 
defaced by infidelity or scepticism. I conceive we should 
not much mend matters if we were to exchange litera- 
tures with the French, Italians, or Germans. About 
Germany, however, I will not speak ; as to France, it 
has great and religious authors ; its classical drama, even 
in comedy, compared with that of other literatures, is 
singularly unexceptionable ; but who is there that holds 
a place among its writers so historical and important, 
who is so copious, so versatile, so brilliant, as that Voltaire 
who is an open scoffer at every thing sacred, venerable, 
or high-minded .■' Nor can Rousseau, though he has 
not the pretensions of Voltaire, be excluded from the 
classical writers of France. Again, the gifted Pascal, 
in the work on which his literary fame is mainly founded, 
does not approve himself to a Catholic judgment ; and 
Descartes, the first of French philosophers, was too 
independent in his inquiries to be always correct in his 
conclusions. The witty Rabelais is said, by a recent 
critic,* to show covertly in his former publications, 
and openly in his latter, his " dislike to the Church of 
Rome." La Fontaine was with difficulty brought, on 
his death-bed, to make public satisfaction for the scandal 
which he had done to religion by his immoral Contes, 
though at length he threw into the fire a piece which he 
had just finished for the stage. Montaigne, whose 
Essays "make an epoch in literature," by "their influence 
upon the tastes and opinions of Europe;" whose "school 
embraces a large proportion of French and English 
literature ; " and of whose " brightness and felicity of 
genius there can be but one opinion," is disgraced, as the 
same writer tells us, by "a sceptical bias and great indiffer- 
ence of temperament;" and "has led the way" as an 
• Ilallam. 

3i6 Eno-lish Catholic Literature. 


habitual offender, "to the indecency too characteristic of 
French literature." 

Nor does Italy present a more encouraging picture. 
Ariosto, one of the few names, ancient or modern, who 
is allowed on all hands to occupy the first rank of Litera- 
ture, is, I suppose, rightly arraigned by the author I have 
above quoted, of " coarse sensuality." Pulci, " by his 
sceptical insinuations, seems clearly to display an inten- 
tion of exposing religion to contempt." Boccaccio, the 
first of Italian prose-writers, had in his old age touch- 
ingly to lament the corrupting tendency of his popular 
compositions ; and Bellarmine has to vindicate him, 
Dante, and Petrarch, from the charge of virulent abuse 
of the Holy See. Dante certainly does not scruple to 
place in his Inferno a Pope, whom the Church has since 
canonized, and his work on MonarcJda is on the Index. 
Another great Florentine, Macchiavel, is on the Index 
also ; and Giannone, as great in political history at 
Naples as Macchiavel at Florence, is notorious for his 
disaffection to the interests of the Roman Pontiff. 

These are but specimens of the general character of 
secular literature, whatever be the people to whom it be- 
longs. One literature may be better than another, but 
bad will be the best, when weighed in the balance of 
truth and morality. It cannot be otherwise ; human 
1 ature is in all ages and all countries the same ; and its 
literature, therefore, will ever and everywhere be one and 
the same also. Man's work will savour of man ; in his 
elements and powers excellent and admirable, but prone 
to disorder and excess, to error and to sin. Such too 
will be his literature ; it will have the beauty and the 
fierceness, the sweetness and the rankness, of the natural 
man, and, with all its richness and greatness, will neces- 
sarily offend the senses oi those who, in the Apostle's 

English CatJiolic Literature. 317 

words, are really " exercised to discern between good 
and evil." " It is said of the holy Sturme," says an Ox- 
ford writer, " that, in passing a horde of unconverted 
Germans, as they were bathing and gambolling in the 
stream, he was so overpowered by the intolerable scent 
which arose from them that he nearly fainted away." 
National Literature is, in a parallel way, the untutored 
movements of the reason, imagination, passions, and 
affections of the natural man, the leapings and the 
friskings, the plungings and the snortings, the sportings 
and the buffoonings, the clumsy play and the aimless 
toil, of the noble, lawless savage of God's intellectual 

It is well that we should clearly apprehend a truth so 
simple and elementary as this, and not expect from the 
nature of man, or the literature of the world, what they 
never held out to us. Certainly, I did not know that the 
world was to be regarded as favourable to Christian faith 
or practice, or that it would be breaking any engagement 
with us, if it took a line divergent from our own. I have 
never fancied that we should have reasonable ground for 
surprise or complaint, though man's intellect puris 7ia- 
tiwalibus did prefer, of the two, liberty to truth, or though 
his heart cherished a leaning towards licence of thought 
and speech in comparison with restraint. 

2. If we do but resign ourselves to facts, we shall soon 
be led on to the second reflection which I have promised 
— viz., that, not only are things not better abroad, but 
they might be worse at home. We have, it is true, a 
Protestant literature ; but then it is neither atheistical 
nor immoral ; and, in the case of at least half a dozen 
of its highest and most influential departments, and of 

3i8 E 71 owlish Catholic Literature. 


the most popular of its authors, it comes to us with very 
considerable alleviations. For instance, there surely is 
a call on us for thankfulness that the most illustrious 
amongst English writers has so little of a Protestant 
about him that Catholics have been able, without ex- 
travagance, to claim him as their own, and that enemies 
to our creed have allowed that he is only not a Catholic, 
because, and as far as, his times forbade it. It is an 
additional satisfaction to be able to boast that he offends 
in neither of those two respects, which reflect so seriously 
upon the reputation of great authors abroad. Whatever 
passages may be gleaned from his dramas disrespectful 
to ecclesiastical authority, still these are but passages ; on 
the other hand, there is in Shakespeare neither contempt 
of religion nor scepticism, and he upholds the broad laws 
of moral and divine truth with the consistency and severity 
of an yEschylus, Sophocles, or Pindar. There is no mis- 
taking in his works on which side lies the right ; Satan 
is not made a hero, nor Cain a victim, but pride is pride, 
and vice is vice, and, whatever indulgence he may allow 
himself in light thoughts or unseemly words, yet his 
admiration is reserved for sanctity and truth. From the 
second chief fault of Literature, as indeed my last words 
imply, he is not so free ; but, often as he may offend 
against modesty, he is clear of a worse charge, sensuality, 
and hardly a passage can be instanced in all that he 
has written to seduce the imagination or to excite the 

A rival to Shakespeare, if not in genius, at least in 
copiousness and variety, is found in Pope ; and he was 
actually a Catholic, though personally an unsatisfactory 
one. His freedom indeed from Protestantism is but a poor 
compensation for a false theory of religion in one of his 
poems ; but, taking his works as a whole, we may surely 

English Catholic Literature, 319 

acquit them of being dangerous to the reader, whether 
on the score of morals or of faith. 

Again, the special title of moralist in English Litera- 
cure is accorded by the public voice to Johnson, whose 
bias to'vards Catholicity is well known. 

If we were to ask for a report of our philosophers, the 
investigation would not be so agreeable ; for we have 
three of evil, and one of unsatisfactory repute, Locke 
is scarcely an honour to us in the standard of truth, grave 
and manly as he is ; and Hobbes, Hume, and Bentham, 
in spite of their abilities, are simply a disgrace. Yet, 
even in this department, we find some compensation in 
the names of Clarke, Berkeley, Butler, and Reid, and in 
a name' more famous than them all. Bacon was too 
intellectually great to hate or to contemn the Catholic 
faith ; and he deserves by his writings to be called the 
most orthodox of Protestant philosophers. 


§.4- If^ ii^ relation to the Literature of the Day- 

THE past cannot be undone. That our English 
Classical Literature is not Catholic is a plain fact, 
which we cannot deny, to which we must reconcile our- 
selves, as best we may, and which, as I have shown above, 
has after all its compensations. When, then, I speak of 
the desirableness of forming a Catholic Literature, I am 
contemplating no such vain enterprise as that of reversing 
history ; no, nor of redeeming the past by the future. I 
have no dream of Catholic Classics as still reserved for the 
English language. In truth, classical authors not only 
are national, but belong to a age of a nation's 
life ; and I should not wonder if, as regards ourselves, 
that age is passing away. Moreover, they perform a 
particular office towards its language, which is not likely 
to be called for beyond a definite time. And further, 
though analogies or parallels cannot be taken to decide 
a question of this nature, such is the fact, that the series of 
our classical writers has already extended through a 
longer period than was granted to the Classical Litera- 
ture either of Greece or of Rome ; and thus the English 
language also may have a long course of literature still 
to come through many centuries, without that Literature 
being classical. 

Latin, for instance, was a living language for many 
hundred years after the date of the writers who brought 
it to its perfection ; and then it continued for a second 

English Catholic Literature, 32 r 

long period to be the medium of European correspon- 
dence. Greek was a living language to a date not ver>' 
far short of that of the taking of Constantinople, ten cen- 
turies after the date of St. Basil, and seventeen hundred 
years after the period commonly called classical. And 
thus, as the year has its spring and summer, so even for 
those celebrated languages there was but a season of splen- 
dour, and, compared with the whole course of their dura- 
tion, but a brief season. Since, then, English has had its 
great writers for a term of about three hundred years, — as 
long, that is, as the period from Sappho to Demosthenes, 
or from Pisistratus to Arcesilas, or from ^schylus and 
Pindar to Carneades, or from Ennius to Pliny, — we 
should have no right to be disappointed if the classical 
period be close upon its termination. 

By the Classics of a national Literature I mean those 
authors who have the foremost place in exemplifying 
the powers and conducting the development of its lan- 
guage. The language of a nation is at first rude and 
clumsy ; and it demands a succession of skilful artists to 
make it malleable and ductile, and to work it up to its 
proper perfection. It improves by use, but it is not 
every one who can use it while as yet it is unformed. 
To do this is an effort of genius ; and so men of a pecu- 
liar talent arise, one after another, according to the cir- 
cumstances of the times, and accomplish it. One gives it 
flexibility, that is, shows how it can be used without 
difficulty to express adequately a variety of thoughts and 
feelings in their nicety or intricacy ; another makes it 
perspicuous or forcible ; a third adds to its vocabulary ; 
and a fourth gives it grace and harmony. The style of 
each of such eminent masters becomes henceforth in 
some sort a property of the language itself ; words, 
phrases, collocations, and structure, which hitherto did 
7- 2i 

322 English Catholic Liter attire. 

not exist, gradually passing into the conversation and 
the composition of the educated classes. 


Now I will attempt to show how this process of im- 
provement is effected, and what is its limit. I conceive 
then that these gifted writers act upon the spoken and 
written language by means of the particular schools 
which form about them respectively. Their style, using 
the word in a large sense, forcibly arrests the reader, and 
draws him on to imitate it, by virtue of what is excellent 
in it, in spite of such defects as, in common with all human 
works, it may contain. I suppose all of us will recognize 
this fascination. For myself when I was fourteen or 
fifteen, I imitated Addison ; when I was seventeen, I 
wrote in the style of Johnson ; about the same time I fell 
in with the twelfth volume of Gibbon, and my ears rang 
with the cadence of his sentences, and I dreamed of it for 
a night or two. Then I began to make an analysis of 
Thucydides in Gibbon's style. In like manner, most 
O.xford undergraduates, forty years ago, when they would 
write poetry, adopted the versification of Pope Darwin, 
and the Pleasures of Hope, which had been made popular 
by Heber and Milman. The literary schools, indeed, 
which I am speaking of, as resulting from the attractions 
of some original, or at least novel artist, consist for the 
most part of mannerists, none of whom rise much above 
mediocrity ; but they are not the less serviceable as 
channels, by means of which the achievements of genius 
may be incorporated into the language itself, or become 
the common property of the nation. Henceforth, the 
most ordinary composer, the very student in the lecture- 
room, is able to write with a precision, a grace, or a copi- 
ousness, as the case may be, unknown before the date 

English Catholic Literature. 323 

of the authors whom he imitates, and he wonders at, if 
he does not rather pride himself on, his 

novas frondes, et non sua poma. 

If there is any one who illustrates this remark, it is 
Gibbon ; I seem to trace his vigorous condensation and 
peculiar rhythm at every turn in the literature of the 
present day. Pope, again, is said to have tuned our 
versification. Since his time, any one, who has an ear 
and turn for poetrj', can with little pains throw off a copy 
of verses equal or superior to the poet's own, and with 
far less of study and patient correction than would have 
been demanded of the poet himself for their production. 
Compare the choruses of the Samson Agonistes with any 
stanza taken at random in Thalaba : how much had the 
language gained in the interval between them ! Without 
denying the high merits of Southey's beautiful romance, 
we surely shall not be wrong in saying, that in its unem- 
barrassed eloquentflow,itis the language of the nineteenth 
century that speaks, as much as the author himself. 

I will give an instance of what I mean : let us take the 
beginning of the first chorus in the Samson : — 

Just are the ways of God, 

And justifiable to men ; 

Unless there be who think not God at all ; 

If any be, they walk obscure. 

For of such doctrine never was there school, 

But the heart of the fool, 

And no man therein doctor but himself. 

But men there be, who doubt His ways not just, 

As to His own edicts found contradicting, 

Then give the reins to wandering thought, 

Regardless of His glory's diminution ; 

Till, by their own perplexities involved, 

They ravel more, still less resolved. 

But never find self-satisfying solution. 

3^4 English Catholic Litei-aiure. 

And now take the opening stanza of Thalaba : — 

How beautiful is night ! 
A dewy freshness fills the silent air ; 
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain. 

Breaks the serene of heaven. 
In full-orb'd glory yonder Moon divine 
Rolls through the dark blue depths. 

Beneath her steady ray 

The desert circle spreads, 
Like the round ocean girdled with the sky. 

How beautiful is night ! 

Does not Southey show to advantage here } yet the 
voice of the world proclaims Milton pre-eminently a 
poet ; and no one can afifect a doubt of the delicacy and 
exactness of his ear. Yet, much as he did for the lan- 
guage in verse and in prose, he left much for other artists 
to do after him, which they have successfully accom- 
plished. We see the fruit of the literary labours of 
Pope, Thomson, Gray, Goldsmith, and other poets ot 
the eighteenth century, in the musical eloquence of 


So much for the process ; now for its termination. I 
think it is brought about in some such way as the 
following : — 

The influence of a great classic upon the nation which 
he represents is twofold ; on the one hand he advances 
his native language towards its perfection ; but on the 
other hand he discourages in some measure any advance 
beyond his own. Thus, in the parallel case of science, 
it is commonly said on the continent, that the very 
marvellousness of Newton's powers was the bane of mathematics : inasmuch as those who succeeded 

English Catholic Liter a lure. 325 

him were content with his discoveries, bigoted to his 
methods of investigation, and averse to those new instru- 
ments which have carried on the French to such brilHant 
and successful results. In Literature, also, there is some- 
thing oppressive in the authority of a great writer, and 
something of tyranny in the use to which his admirers 
put his name. Tiie school which he forms would fain 
monopolize the language, draws up canons of criticism 
from his writings, and is intolerant of innovation. Those 
who come under its influence are dissuaded or deterred 
from striking out a path of their own. Thus Virgil's 
transcendent excellence fixed the character of the hexa- 
meter in subsequent poetry, and took away the chances, 
if not of improvement, at least of variety. Even Juvenal 
has much of Virgil in the structure of his verse. I have 
known those who prefer the rhythm of Catullus. 

However, so summary a result is not of necessary 
occurrence. The splendour of an author may excite a 
generous emulation, or the tyrannous formalism of his 
followers a re- action ; and thus other authors and other 
schools arise. We read of Thucydides, on hearing 
Herodotus read his history at Olympia, being incited to 
attempt a similar work, though of an entirely different 
and of an original structure. Gibbon, in like manner, 
writing of Hume and Robertson, says: "The perfect com- 
position, the nervous language, the well-turned periods 
of Dr. Robertson, inflamed me to the ambitious hope 
that I might one day tread in his footsteps ; the calm 
philosophy, the careless inimitable beauties of his friend 
and rival, often forced me to close the volume with a 
mixed sensation of delight and despair." * 

As to re-actions, I suppose there has been something 
of the kind against the supremacy of Pope, since the time 
* Misc. Works, p. 55. 

326 English Catholic Literature. 

that his successors, Campbell especially, have developed 
his peculiarities and even defects into extravagance. 
Crabbe, for instance, turned back to a versification having 
much more of Dryden in it ; and Byron, in spite of his 
high opinion of Pope, threw into his lines the rhythm of 
blank verse. Still, on the whole, the influence of a Classic 
acts in the way of discouraging any thing new, rather than 
in that of exciting rivalry or provoking re-action. 

And another consideration is to betaken into account. 
When a language has been cultivated in any particular 
department of thought, and so far as it has been generally 
perfected, an existing want has been supplied, and there 
is no need for further workmen. In its earlier times, 
while it is yet unformed, to write in it at all is almost a 
work of genius. It is like crossing a country before 
roads are made communicating between place and place. 
The authors of that age deserve to be Classics, both 
because of what they do and because they can do it. It 
requires the courage or the force of great talent to com- 
pose in the language at all ; and the composition, when 
effected, makes a permanent impression on it. In 
those early times, too, the licence of speech unfettered 
by precedents, the novelty of the work, the state of 
society, and the absence of criticism, enable an author to 
write with spirit and freshness. But, as centuries pass on, 
this stimulus is taken away ; the language by this time 
has become manageable for its various purposes, and is 
ready at command. Ideas have found their correspond- 
ing expressions ; and one word will often convey what 
once required half a dozen. Roots have been expanded, 
derivations multiplied, terms invented or adopted. A 
variety of phrases has been provided, which form a sort 
of compound words. Separate professions, pursuits, and 
pi'ovinces of literature have gained their conventional 

English CatliGuc Literature. 327 

terminology. There is an historical, political, social, com- 
mercial style. The ear of the nation has become accus- 
tomed to useful expressions or combinations of words, 
which otherwise would sound harsh. Strange metaphors 
have been naturalized in the ordinary prose, yet cannot 
be taken as precedents for a similar liberty. Criticism 
has become an art, and exercises a continual and jealous 
watch over the free genius of new writers. It is difficult 
for them to be original in the use of their mother tongue 
without being singular. 

Thus the language has become in a great measure 
stereotype ; as in the case of the human frame, it has 
expanded to the loss of its elasticity, and can expand no 
more. Then the general style of educated men, formed 
by the accumulated improvements of centuries, is far 
superior perhaps in perfectness to that of any one of 
those national Classics, who have taught their country- 
men to write more clearly, or more elegantly, or more 
forcibly than themselves. And literary men submit 
themselves to what they find so well provided for them; 
or, if impatient of conventionalities, and resolved to 
shake off a yoke which tames them down to the loss of 
individuality, they adopt no half measures, but indulge 
in novelties which offend against the genius of the lan- 
guage, and the true canons of taste. Political causes may 
co-operate in a revolt of this kind ; and, as a nation 
declines in patriotism, so does its language in purity. 
It seems to me as if the sententious, epigrammatic style 
of writing, which set in with Seneca, and is seen at least 
as late as in the writings of St. Ambrose, is an attempt 
to escape from the simplicity of Caesar and the majestic 
elocution of Cicero ; while Tertullian, with more of 
genius than good sense, relieves himself in the harsh 
originality of his provincial Latin. 

8 En(rlish Catholic Literature. 


There is another impediment, as time goes on, to the 
rise of fresh classics in any nation ; and that is the effect 
which foreigners, or foreign Hterature, will exert upon 
it. It may happen that a certain language, like Greek, is 
adopted and used familiarly by educated men in other 
countries ; or again, that educated men, to whom it is 
native, may abandon it for some other language, as the 
Romans of the second and third centuries wrote in 
tireek instead of Latin. The consequence will be, that 
the language in question will tend to lose its nationality 
— -that is, its distinctive character ; it will cease to be 
idiomatic in the sense in which it once was so; and 
whatever grace or propriety it may retain, it will be 
comparatively tame and spiritless ; or, on the other 
hand, it will be corrupted by the admixture of foreign 


Such, as I consider, being the fortunes of Classical 
Literature, vdewed generally, I should never be sur- 
prised to find that, as regards this hemisphere, for I can 
prophesy -nothing of America, we have well nigh seen 
the end of English Classics. Certainly, it is in no ex- 
pectation of Catholics continuing the series here that I 
speak of the duty and necessity of their cultivating 
]{nglish literature. When I speak of the formation of a 
Catholic school of writers, I have respect principally to 
the matter of what is written, and to composition only 
so far forth as style is necessary lo convey and to recom- 
mend the matter. I mean a literature which resembles 
the literature of the day. This is not a day for great 
writers, but for good writing, and a great deal of it. 
There never was a time when men wrote so much and 
so well, and that, without being of anygreat account them- 

Enorlish Catholic L Hera tu re. 329 


selves. While our literature in this day, especially the 
periodical, is rich and various, its language is elaborated 
to a perfection far beyond that of our Classics, by the 
jealous rivalry, the incessant practice, the mutual in- 
fluence, of its many writers. In point of mere style, I 
suppose, many an article in the Times newspaper, or 
Edinburgh Review, is superior to a preface of Dryden's, 
or a Spectator, or a pamphlet of Swift's, or one of 
South's sermons. 

Our writers write so well that there is little to choose 
between them. What they lack is that individuality, 
that earnestness, most personal yet most unconscious of 
self, which is the greatest charm of an author. The very 
form of the compositions of the day suggests to us their 
main deficiency. They are anonymous. So was it not in 
the literature of those nations which we consider the 
special standard of classical writing ; so is it not with 
our own Classics. The Epic was sung by the voice of 
the living, present poet. The drama, in its very idea, 
is poetry in persons. Historians begin, " Herodotus, of 
Halicarnassus, publishes his researches ; " or, " Thucy- 
dides, the Athenian, has composed an account of the 
war." Pindar is all through his odes a speaker. Plato, 
Xenophon, and Cicero, throw their philosophical disser- 
tations into the form of a dialogue. Orators and preachers 
are by their very profession known persons, and the per- 
sonal is laid down by the Philosopher of antiquity as the 
source of their greatest persuasiveness. Virgil and 
Horace are ever bringing into their poetry their own 
characters and tastes. Dante's poeyns furnish a series of 
events for the chronology of his times. Milton is frequent 
in allusions to his own history and circumstances. Even 
when Addison writes anonymously, he writes under a 
professed character, and that in a great measure his own; 

SSO Eyiglish Catholic Literature. 

he writes in the first person. The " I " of the Spectator, 
and the "we'^ of the modern Review or Newspaper, are 
the respective symbols of the two ages in our literature. 
Catholics must do as their neighbours ; they must be 
content to serve their generation, to promote the interests 
of religion, to recommend truth, and to edify their breth- 
ren to-day, though their names are to have little weight, 
and their works are not to last much beyond themselves. 

And now having shown what it is that a Catholic 
University does not think of doing, what it need not do, 
and what it cannot do, I might go on to trace out in 
detail what it is that it really might and will encourage 
and create. But, as such an investigation would neither 
be difficult to pursue, nor eas}^ to terminate, I prefer to 
leave the subject at the preliminary point to which I 
have brought it. 




IT has often been observed that, when the eyes of the 
infant first open upon the world, the reflected rays of 
light which strike them from the myriad of surrounding 
objects present to him no image, but a medley of colours 
and shadows. They do not form into a whole ; they do 
not rise into foregrounds and melt into distances ; they 
do not divide into groups ; they do not coalesce into 
unities ; they do not combine into persons ; but each 
particular hue and tint stands by itself, wedged in amid 
a thousand others upon the vast and flat mosaic, having 
no intelligence, and conveying no story, any more than 
the wrong side of some rich tapestry. The little babe 
stretches out his arms and fingers, as if to grasp or to 
fathom the many-coloured vision ; and thus he gradually 
learns the connexion of part with part, separates what 
moves from what is stationary, watches the coming and 
going of figures, masters the idea of shape and of per- 
spective, calls in the information conveyed through the 
other senses to assist him in his mental process, and thus 
gradually converts a calidoscope into a picture. The 
first view was the more splendid, the second the more 
real ; the former more poetical, the latter more philoso- 
phical. Alas ! what are we doing all through life, both 
as a necessity and as a duty, but unlearning the world's 

2,32 Elerneniiify Studies, 

poetry, and attaining to its prose ! This is our educa- 
tion, as boys and as men, in the action of life, and in the 
closet or library; in our affections, in our aims, in our 
hopes, and in our memories. And in like manner it is 
the education of our intellect ; I say, that one main por- 
tion of intellectual education, of the labours of both 
school and university, is to remove the original dimness 
of the mind's eye ; to strengthen and perfect its vision ; 
to enable it to look out into the world right forward, 
steadily and truly ; to give the mind clearness, accuracy, 
precision ; to enable it to use words aright, to understand 
what it says, to conceive justly what it thinks about, to 
abstract, compare, analyze, divide, define, and reason, cor- 
rectly. There is a particular science which takes these 
matters in hand, and it is called logic ; but it is not by 
logic, certainly not by logic alone, that the faculty I 
speak of is acquired. The infant does not learn to spell 
and read the hues upon his retina by any scientific rule ; 
nor does the student learn accuracy of thought by any 
manual or treatise. The instruction given him, of what- 
ever kind, if it be really instruction, is mainly, or at least 
pre-eminently, this, — a discipline in accuracy of mind. 

Boys are always more or less inaccurate, and too many, 
or rather the majority, remain boys all their lives. When, 
for instance, I hear speakers at public meetings declaim- 
ing about " large and enlightened views," or about " free- 
dom of conscience," or about " the Gospel," or any other 
popular subject of the day, I am far from denying that 
some among them know what they are talking about ; 
but it would be satisfactory, in a particular case, to be 
sure of the fact ; for it seems to me that those household 
words may stand in a man's mind for a something or 
other, very glorious indeed, but very misty, pretty much 
like the idea of " civilization " which floats before the 

Elementary Studies. 333 

mental vision of a Turk, — that is, if, when he interrupts 
his smoking to utter the word, he condescends to reflect 
whether it has any meaning at all. Again, a critic in a 
periodical dashes off, perhaps, his praises of a new work, 
as " talented, original, replete with intense interest, irre- 
sistible in argument, and, in the best sense of the word, 
a very readable book ; " — can we really believe that he 
cares to attach any definite sense to the words of which 
he is so lavish ? nay, that, if he had a habit of at- 
taching sense to them, he could ever bring himself to so 
prodigal and wholesale an expenditure of them ? 

To a short-sighted person, colours run together and 
intermix, outlines disappear, blues and reds and yellows 
become russets or browns, the lamps or candles of an 
illumination spread into an unmeaning glare, or dissolve 
into a milky way. He takes up an eye-glass, and the 
mist clears up ; every image stands out distinct, and the 
rays of light fall back upon their centres. It is this 
haziness of intellectual vision which is the malady of all 
classes of men by nature, of those who read and write 
and compose, quite as well as of those who cannot, — of 
all who have not had a really good education. Those 
who cannot either read or write may, nevertheless, be in 
the number of those who have remedied and got rid of 
it ; those who can, are too often still under its power. 
It is an acquisition quite separate from miscellaneous in- 
formation, or knowledge of books. This is a large sub- 
ject, which might be pursued at great length, and of 
which here I shall but attempt one or two illustrations. 


§ . I — Grammar, 

ONE of the subjects especially interesting to all 
persons who, from any point of view, as officials 
or as students, are regarding a University course, is that 
of the Entrance Examination. Now a principal subject 
introduced into this examination will be " the elements 
of Latin and Greek Grammar." " Grammar " in the 
middle ages was often used as almost synonymous with 
" literature," and a Grammarian was a " Professor litera- 
rum." This is the sense of the word in which a youth 
of an inaccurate mind delights. He rejoices to profess 
all the classics, and to learn none of them. On the 
other hand, by " Grammar " is now more commonly 
meant, as Johnson defines it, " the art of using words 
properly," and it *' comprises four parts — Orthography, 
Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody." Grammar, in this 
sense, is the scientific analysis of language, and to be 
conversant with it, as regards a particular language, is 
to be able to understand the meaning and force of that 
lan£][uage when thrown into sentences and paragraphs. 

Thus the word is used when the " elements of Latin 
and Greek Grammar " are spoken of as subjects of our 
Entrance Examination ; not, that is, the elements of 
Latin and Greek literature, as if a youth were intended 
to have a smattering of the classical writers in general, 
and were to be able to give an opinion about the elo- 
quence of Demosthenes and Cicero, the value of Livy, 

Elementary Studies, 335 

or the existence of Homer ; or need have read half a 
dozen Greek and Latin authors, and portions of a dozen 
others : — though of course it would be much to his credit 
if he had done so ; only, such proficiency is not to be 
expected, and cannot be required, of him : — but we mean 
the structure and characteristics of the Latin and Greek 
languages, or an examination of his scholarship. That is, 
an examination in order to ascertain whether he knows 
Etymology and Syntax, the two principal departments 
of the science of language, — whether he understands 
how the separate portions of a sentence hang together, 
how they form a whole, how each has its own place in 
the government of it, what are the peculiarities of con- 
struction or the idiomatic expressions in it proper to the 
language in which it is written, what is the precise mean- 
ing of its terms, and what the history of their formation. 
All this will be best arrived at by trying how far he 
can frame a possible, or analyze a given sentence. To 
translate an English sentence into Latin is to frame a 
sentence, and is the best test whether or not a student 
knows the difference of Latin from English construction ; 
to construe and parse is to analyze a sentence, and is an 
evidence of the easier attainment of knowing what 
Latin construction is in itself And this is the sense of 
the word " Grammar " which our inaccurate student 
detests, and this is the sense of the word which every 
sensible tutor will maintain. His maxim is, "a little, 
but well ; " that is, really know what you say you know: 
know what you know and what you do not know ; get 
one thing well before you go on to a second ; try to 
ascertain what your words mean ; when you read a sen- 
tence, picture it before your mind as a whole, take in the 
truth or information contained in it, express it in your 
own words, and, if it be important, commit it to the 

;^T,6 Elementary Studies. 

faithful memory. Again, compare one idea with another ; 
adjust truths and facts ; form them into one whole, or 
notice the obstacles which occur in doing so. This is 
the way to make progress ; this is the way to arrive at 
results ; not to swallow knowledge, but (according to the 
figure sometimes used) to masticate and digest it. 

To illustrate what I mean, I proceed to take an in- 
stance. I will draw the sketch of a candidate for entrance', 
deficient to a great extent. I shall put him below /<?/-, 
and not such as it is likely that a respectable school would 
turn out, with a view of clearly bringing before the reader, 
by the contrast, what a student ought not to be, or what 
is meant by inaccuracy. And, in order to simplify the 
case to the utmost, I shall take, as he will perceive as I 
proceed, one single word as a sort of text, and show how 
that one word, even by itself, affords matter for a suffi- 
cient examination of a youth in grammar, history, and 
geography. I set off thus : — 

Tutor. Mr. Brown, I believe ? sit down. Candidate. 

T. What are the Latin and Greek books you propose 
to be examined in } C. Homer, Lucian, Demosthenes, 
Xenophon, Virgil, Horace, Statins, Juvenal, Cicero, 
Analecta, and Matthias. 

T. No ; I mean what are the books I am to examine 
you in } C. is silent. 

T. The two books, one LafMi, and one Greek : don't 
flurry yourself. C. Oh, . . . Xenophon and Virgil. 

T. Xenophon and Virgil. Very well ; what part of 
Xenophon .■' C. is silent. 

T. What work of Xenophon "■ C. Xenophon. 

T. Xenophon wrote many works. Do you know the 

Elementary Studies. 337 

names of any of them ? CI... Xenophon , . , 

T. Is it \.\\& Anabasis you take up ? C. {tvtth surprise) 
O yes ; the Anabasis. 

T. Well, Xenophon's Anabasis ; now what is the 
meaning of the word anabasis ? C. is silent. 

T. You know very well ; take your time, and don't 
be alarmed. Anabasis means . . . C. An ascent, 

T. Very right ; it means an ascent. Now how comes 
it to mean an ascent ? What is it derived from ,-* C. It 
comes from . . . {a pause). Anabasis ... it is the 

T. Quite right : but what part of speech is it } C. A 
noun, — a noun substantive. 

T. Very well ; a noun substantive ; now what is the 
verb that anabasis is derived from ? C. is silent. 

T. From the verb dva/3aiva), isn't it ? from dva^aivo). 
C Yes. 

T. Just so. Now, what does ai^aySaiW mean .^ C. To 
go up, to ascend, 

T. Very well ; and which part of the word means to 
go, and which part up ? C. dvd is np, and ^atvco is go. 

T. BaivcD to go, yes ; now ^dcri,^ .<* What does ^dcrt<i 
mean } C. A going. 

T. That is right ; and dvd-^a(ri<i ? C. A going up. 

T. Now what is a going down ? C. is silent. 

T. What is down 1 . . , Kurd . , . don't you recollect } 
Kurd. C. Kard. 

T. Well, then, what is a going down f Cat . . . cat 
. . , C. Cat. ... 

T. Cata ... C. Cata. . . , 

T. Catabasis, C. Oh, of course, catabasis, 

T. Now tell me what is the future of^aivto ? C. {thinks) 

7 * 22 

,338 Elementary Studies. 

T. No, no ; think again ; you know better than that. 
C. {objects) ^aivoi, (f)av(a ? 

T. Certainly, (f)ava) is the future of <^aiv(o ; but /3atW 
is, you know, an irregular verb. C. Oh, I recollect, ^rjtrm. 

T. Well, that is much better ; but you are not quite 
right yet ; ^i^ao^ac. C. Oh, of course, ^rjaofjuai,. 

T. Bi]ao/jiai. Now do you mean to say that ^rja-o/uii 
comes from ^aivw ? C. is silent. 

T. For instance : rin^oo comes from tutttco by a change 
of letters ; does ^rj<TofiaL in any similar way come from 
^aivo) ? C. It is an irregular verb. 

T. What do you mean by an irregular verb } does it 
form tenses anyhow and by caprice 1 C. It does not 
go according to the paradigm. 

T. Yes, but how do you account for this .'' C. is silent. 

T. Are its tenses formed from several roots .'' C. is 
silent. T. is silejit ; then he changes the subject. 

T. Well, now you say A nabasis means an ascent. Who 
ascended } C. The Greeks, Xenophon. 

T. Very well : Xenophon and the Greeks ; the Greeks 
ascended. To what did they ascend } C. Against the 
Persian king : they ascended to fight the Persian king. 

T. That is right ... an ascent ; but I thought we 
called it a descowX. when a foreign army carried war into 
a country t C. is silent. 

T. Don't we talk of a descent of barbarians .'' C. Yes. 

T. Why then are the Greeks said to go npf C. They 
went up to fight the Persian king. 

T. Yes ; but why up . . . why not dozvn ? C. They 
came down afterwards, when they retreated back to 

T. Perfectly right ; they did . . . but could you give 
no reason why they are said to go up to Persia, not 
down f C. They went up to Persia. 

Elementary Studies. 339 

T. Why do you not say they went down ? C. pauses, 
then, . . . They went dozvn to Persia. 

T. You have misunderstood me. 

A silence. 

T. Why do you not say down ? C I do . . . doivn. 

T. You have got confused ; you know very well, C. 
I understood you to ask why I did not say " they went 
dozu.n ". 

A silence on both sides. 

T. Have you come up to Dublin or down ? I came 

T. Why do you call it coming up ? C. thinks, then 
smiles, then . . . We always call it coming up to Dublin. 

T. Well, but you always have a reason for what you 
do . . . what is your reason here .-* C. is silent. 

T. Come, come, Mr. Brown, I won't believe you don't 
know ; I am sure you have a very good reason for saying 
you go up to Dublin, not down. C. thinks, then ... It 
is the capital. 

T. Very well ; now was Persia the capital ? C. Yes. 

T. Well . . . no . . . not exactly . . . explain your- 
self; was Persia a city ? C. A country. 

T. That is right; well, but did you ever hear of Susa? 
Now, why did they speak of going up to Persia .'' C. is 

T. Because it was the seat of government ; that was 
one reason. Persia was the seat of government; thty 
went up because it was the seat of government. C. Be- 
cause it was the seat of government. 

T. Now where did they go up from ? C. From Greece. 

T. But where did this army assemble .-* whence did it 
set out ? C. is silent. 

T. It is mentioned in the first book ; where did the 
troops rendezvous f C. is silent. 

340 Elementary Studies, 

T. Open your book ; now turn to Book I., chapter ii. ; 
now tell me. C. Oh, at Sardis. 

T. Very right : at Sardis ; now where was Sardis ? 
C. In Asia Minor? . . . no . . . it's an island . . . a 
pause, then . . . Sardinia. 

T. In Asia Minor; the army set out from Asia Minor, 
and went on towards Persia ; and therefore it is said to 
go up — because ... C. is silent. 

T. Because . . . Persia ... C. Because Persia . . , 

T. Of course ; because Persia held a sovereignty over 
Asia Minor. C. Yes. 

T. Now do you know how and when Persia came to 
conquer and gain possession of Asia Minor "i C. is 

T. Was Persia in possession of many countries .-* C. 
is silent. 

T. Was Persia at the head of an empire ? C. is silent. 

T. Who was Xerxes .■' C. Oh, Xerxes . . . yes . . . 
Xerxes ; hfe invaded Greece ; he flogged the sea. 

T. Right; he flogged the sea: what sea.-* C. is silent. 

T. Have you read any history of Persia .-*... what 
history } C. Grote, and Mitford. 

T. Well, now, Mr. Brown, you can name some other 
reason why the Greeks spoke of going up to Persia } 
Do we talk of going up or down from the sea-coast } 
C. Up. 

T. That is right ; well, going from Asia Minor, would 
you go from the sea, or towards it .-• C. From. 

T. What countries would you pass, going from the 
coast of Asia Minor to Persia ? . . . mention any of them. 
C. is silent. 

T. What do you mean by Asia Minor f . . . why 
called Minor ? , , . how does it lie } C. is silent. 
Etc., etc. 

Elementary Studies, 341 


I have drawn out this specimen at the risk of weary- 
ing the reader ; but I have wished to bring out clearly 
what it really is which an Entrance Examination should 
aim at and require in its students. This young man had 
read the Anabasis, and had some general idea what the 
word meant ; but he had no accurate knowledge how the 
word came to have its meaning, or of the history and 
geography implied in it. This being the case, it was 
useless, or rather hurtful, for a boy hke him to amuse 
himself with running through Grote's many volumes, or 
to cast his eye over Matthias's minute criticisms. Indeed, 
this seems to have been Mr. Brown's stumbling-block ; he 
began by saying that he had read Demosthenes, Virgil, 
Juvenal, and I do not know how many other authors. 
Nothing is more common in an age like this, when books 
abound, than to fancy that the gratification of a love of 
reading is real study. Of course there are youths who 
shrink even from story books, and cannot be coaxed into 
getting through a tale of romance. Such Mr. Brown 
was not ; but there are others, and I suppose he was in 
their number, who certainly have a taste for reading, but 
in whom it is little more than the result of mental rest- 
lessness and curiosity. Such minds cannot fix their 
gaze on one object for two seconds together ; the very 
impulse which leads them to read at all, leads them, to 
read on, and never to stay or hang over any one idea. 
The pleasurable excitement of reading what is new is 
their motive principle ; and the imagination that they 
are doing something, and the boyish vanity which accom- 
panies it, are their reward. Such youths often profess 
to like poetry, or to like history or biography ; they are 
fond of lectures on certain of the physical sciences ; or 
they may possibly have a real and true taste for natural 

342 Elementary Studies. 

history or other cognate subjects ; — and so far they may 
be regarded with satisfaction ; but on the other hand 
they profess that they do not Hke logic, they do not like 
algebra, they have no taste for mathematics ; which only 
means that they do not like application, they do not 
like attention, they shrink from the effort and labour of 
thinking, and the process of true intellectual gymnastics. 
The consequence will be that, when they grow up, they 
may, if it so happen, be agreeable in conversation, they 
may be well informed in this or that department of 
knowledge, they may be what is called literary ; but 
they will have no consistency, steadiness, or perseve- 
rance ; they will not be able to make a telling speech, or 
to write a good letter, or to fling in debate a smart 
antagonist, unless so far as, now and then, mother-wit 
supplies a sudden capacity, which cannot be ordinarily 
counted on. They cannot state an argument or a ques- 
tion, or take a clear survey of a whole transaction, or 
give sensible and appropriate advice under difficulties, or 
do any of those things which inspire confidence and gain 
influence, which raise a man in life, and make him useful 
to his religion or his country. 

And now, having instanced what I mean by the want 
of accuracy, and stated the results in which I think it 
issues, I proceed to sketch, by way of contrast, an ex- 
amination which displays a student, who, whatever may 
be his proficiency, at least knows what he is about, and 
has tried to master what he has read. I am far from 
saying that every candidate for admission must come up 
to its standard : — 

T. I think you have named Cicero's Letters ad Fami- 
liares, Mr. Black ? Open, if you please, at Book xi., 
Epistle 29, and begin reading. 

Ekmentary Studies. 343 

C. reads. Cicero Appio salutem. Dubitanti mihi (quod 
scit Atticus noster), de hoc toto consilio profectionis, quod 
in utramque partem in mentem multa veniebant, magnum 
pondus accessit ad tollendam dubitationem, judicium et 
consilium tuum. Nam et scripsisti aperte, quid tibi vide- 
retur ; et Atticus ad me sermonem tuum pertulit. Semper 
judicavi,in te, et in capiendo consilio prudentiam summam 
esse, et in dando fidem ; maximeque sum expertus, cum, 
initio civilis belli, per literas te consuluissem quid mihi 
faciendum esse censeres ; eundumne ad Pompeium an 
manendum in Italia. 

T. Very well, stop there ; Now construe. C. Cicero 
Appio salutem. . . Cicero greets Appiits. 

T. " Greets Appius^ True ; but it sounds stiff in 
English, doesn't it ? What is the real English of it ? 
C. " My dear Appius .-'".., 

T. That will do ; go on. C. Dubitanti mihi, quod scit 
Atticus noster, While I was hesitating, as our friend 
Atticus knows. . . 

T. That is right. C. De hoc toto consilio profectionis, 
about the whole plan. . . entire project. . . de hoc toto 
consilio profectionis. . . on the subject of my proposed 
journey. . . on my proposed journey altogether. 

T. Never mind ; go on ; any of them will do. C. 
Quod in utramque partem in mentem multa veniebant, 
inasmuch as many considerations both for and agaifist it 
came into my mind, magnum pondus accessit ad tollen- 
dam dubitationem, it came with great force to remove my 

T. What do you mean by " accessit " } C. It means 
it contributed to turn the scale; accessit, it was an addition 
to one side. 

T. Well, it may mean so, but the words run, ad 
tollendam dubitationem. C. It was a great. . . it was 

344 Elemeniaty Studies. 

a powerful help towards removing my hesitation. . . 
no. . . this was a powerful help, viz., your judgment and 

T. Well, what is the construction of "pondus" and 
"judicium " ? C. Your advice came as a great weight. 

T. Very well, go on. C. Nam et scripsisti aperte quid 
tibi videretur ; for you distinctly wrote your opijiion. 

T. Now, what is the force of " nam " ? C. pauses ; then. 
It refers to " accessit "... it is an explanation of the 
fact, that Appius's opinion was a help. 

T. " Et " ; you omitted " et " . . . " et scripsisti." C. 
It is one of two " ets " ; et scripsisti, et Atticus. 

T. Well, but why don't you construe it } C. Et 
scripsisti, jj/^7^ both distinctly. . . 

T. No ; tell me, why did you leave it out } had you a 
reason } C. I thought it was only the Latin style, to 
dress the sentence, to make it antithetical ; and was not 

T. Very good, still, you can express it ; try. C. Also^ 
with the second clause } 

T. That is right, go on. C. Nam et, for you distinctly 
stated in writing your opinion, et Atticus ad me ser- 
monem tuum pertulit, attd Atticus too sent 7ne word of 
xvhat you said, . . . of w/iat you said to him in conver- 

T. " Pertulit." C. It means that Atticus conveyed on 
to Cicero the conversation he had with Appius. 

T. Who was Atticus .? C. is silent. 

T. Who was Atticus t C. I didn't think it came into 
the examination. . . 

T. Well, I didn't say it did : but still you can tell me 
who Atticus was. C. A great friend of Cicero's. 

T. Did he take much part in politics .-' C. No. 

T. What were his opinions? C. He was an Epicurean. 

Elenieniary Studies. 345 

7". What was an Epicurean ? C. is silent, then, 
Epicureans lived for themselves. 

T. You are answering very well, sir ; proceed. C. 
Semper judicavi, / have ever considered, in te, et in 
capiendo consilio prudentiam summam esse, et in dando 
fidem ; that your ivisdojn was of the Jiighest order . . . 
tliat you had the greatest wisdom . . . that notJiing could 
exceed the wisdom of your resolves, or the honesty of yonr 

T. " Fidem." C. It means faithfulness to the person 
asking . . . maximeque sum c^^Qxi\i?i, atid I had a great 
proof of it. 

T. Great; why don't you S2iy greatest f " maxime " 
is superlative, C. The Latins use the superlative, when 
they only mean the positive. 

T. You mean, when English uses the positive ; can 
you give me an instance of what you mean .'' C. Cicero 
always speaks of others as amplissimi, optimi, doctissimi, 

T. Do they ever use the comparative for the positive '■ 
C. thijtks, then, Certior factus sum. 

T. Well, perhaps ; however, here, "maxime" may mean 
special, may it not ? C. A nd 1 had a special proof of it, 
cum, initio civilis belli, per literas te consuluissem, when, 
on the commencement of the civil war, I had written to ask 
your advice, quid mihi faciendum esse censeres, zv hat you 
thought I ought to do, eundumne ad Pompeium, an ma- 
nendum in Italia, to go to Pompey, or to remain in Italy. 

T. Very well, now stop. Dubitanti mihi, quod scit 
Atticus nostcr. You construed quod, as. C. I meant 
the relative as. 

T. Is as a relative ? C. As is used in English for the 
relative, as when we say such as for those who. 

T. Well, but why do you use it here ? What is the 

34^ Elementary Studies. 

antecedent to "quod"? C. The sentence Dubitanti 
mihi, etc. 

T. Still, construe " quod " literally. C. A thing which. 

T. Where is a thing? C. It is understood. 

T. Well, but put it in. C. Illud quod. 

T. Is that right .'' what is the common phrase ? C. is 

T. Did you ever see " illud quod " in that position 1 is 
it the phrase .-' C. is silent. 

T. It is commonly " id quod," isn't it ? id quod, C. 
Oh, I recollect, id quod. 

T. Well, which is more common, "quod," or "id 
quod," when the sentence is the antecedent } C. I think 
"id quod." 

T. At least it is far more distinct ; yes, I think it is 
more common. What could you put instead of it } C. 
Quod quidem. 

T. Now, dubitanti mihi ; what is " mihi " governed 
by .'' C. Accessit. 

T. No ; hardly. C. is silent. 

T. Does " accessit " govern the dative "i C. I thought 
it did. 

T. Well, it may ; but would Cicero use the dative 
after it .'' what is the more common practice with words 
of motion .-' Do you say, Venit mihi, he came to me? C. 
No, Venit ad me ; — I recollect. 

T. That is right ; venit ad me. Now, for instance, 
"incumbo:" what case docs "incumbo" govern,? C. In- 
cumbite remis ? 

7". Where is that. Mn Cicero.'' C, No, in Virgil. Cicero 
uses " in " ; I recollect, incumbere in opus ... ad opus. 

T. W^ell, then, is this " mihi " governed by "accessit " } 
what comes after accessit ? C. I see ; it is, accessit ad 
tollendam dubitationem. 

Elementary Studies. 347 

T. That is right ; but then, what after all do you do 
with " mihi " ? how is it governed ? C. is silent. 

T. How is "mihi " governed, if it does not come after 
" accessit " ? C. pauses, then, " Mihi " ..." mihi " is 
often used so ; and " tibi " and " sibi " : I mean " suo 
sibi gladio hunc jugulo " ; . . . "venit mihi in mentem " ; 
that is, it came into my 77iind ; and so, " accessit mihi ad 
tollendam," etc. 

T. That is very right. C. I recollect somewhere in 
Horace, vellunt tibi barbam. 

Etc., etc. 

And now, my patient reader, I suspect you have had 
enough of me on this subject ; and the best I can expect 
from you is, that you will say : "His first pages had some 
amusement in them, but he is dullish towards the end." 
Perhaps so ; but then you must kindly bear in mind 
that the latter part is about a steady careful youth, and 
the earlier part is not ; and that goodness, exactness, 
and diligence, and the correct and the unexceptionable, 
though vastly more desirable than their contraries in 
fact, are not near so entertaining in fiction. 



§. 2 — Composition. 


AM able to present the reader by anticipation with 
the correspondence which will pass between Mr. 
Brown's father and Mr. White, the tutor, on the subject 
of Mr. Brown's examination for entrance at the Univer- 
sity. And, in doing so, let me state the reason why I 
dwell on what many will think an extreme case, or even 
a caricature. I do so, because what may be called exag- 
geration is often the best means of bringing out certain 
faults of the mind which do indeed exist commonly, if 
not in that degree. If a master in carriage and deport- 
ment wishes to carry home to one of his boys that he 
slouches, he will caricature the boy himself, by way of 
impressing on the boy's intellect a sort of abstract and 
typical representation of the ungraceful habit which he 
wishes corrected. When we once have the simple and 
perfect ideas of things in our minds, we refer the parti- 
cular and partial manifestations of them to these types ; 
we recognize what they are, good or bad, as we never 
did before, and we have a guide set up within us to 
direct our course by. So it is with principles of taste, 
good breeding, or of conventional fashion ; so it is in 
the fine arts, in painting, or in music. We cannot even 
understand the criticism passed on these subjects until 
we have set up for ourselves the ideal standard of what 
is admirable and what is absurd. 

So is it with the cultivation and discipline of the mind, 

Elementary Studies. 34^ 

as it should be conducted at College and University, and 
as it manifests itself afterwards in life. Clearness of 
head, accuracy, scholarlike precision, method, and the 
like, are ideas obvious to point out, and easy to grasp ; 
yet they do not suggest themselves to youths at once, 
and have to be urged and inflicted upon them. And 
this is done best by a caricature of their opposites. 

And, as I am now going to continue the caricature by 
bringing in Mr. Brown's father as well as himself, I have 
to make a fresh explanation, lest I should seem to 
imply there are fathers altogether such as he will prove 
to be. I do not mean to say there are ; yet it may 
easily happen that many excellent fathers, many even 
able and thoughtful men, may be found, who in a certain 
measure are under the bias of that error of which Mr. 
Brown senior is the typical instance, and who may bt 
led possibly to reconsider some of their views, and in a 
measure to modify them, if they are confronted with 
an exhibition of them in their full dimensions ; — and 
that, in consequence of their being forced to master the 
typical representation, though the error is never found 
thus pure and complete in fact, but only in degrees and 
portions, so that, when represented pure, it is called, and 
may fairly be called, a caricature. With this explana- 
tion of my meaning, and this apology in anticipation, I 
hope to be able wichout misconstruction to put before 
the reader the correspondence of which I have spoken. 


Mr. Brown, jun., to his father. 

" My dear Father, 

" It seems odd I never was in Dublin before, though 
we have been now some time in Ireland. Well, I find 

3 so Elementary Studies. 

it a handsomer place than I thought for — really a re- 
spectable town. But it is sadly behind the world in 
many things. Think of its having no Social Science, not 
even a National Gallery or British Museum ! nor have 
they any high art here : some good public buildings, but 
very pagan. The bay is a fine thing. 

" I called with your letter on Mr. Black, who intro- 
duced me to the professors, some of whom, judging by 
their skulls, are clever men. 

" There is a lot here for examination, and an Exhi- 
bition is to be given to the best. I should like to get it. 
Young Black, — you saw him once, — is one of them ; I 
knew him at school ; he is a large fellow now, thougli 
younger than I am. If he be the best of them, I shall 
not be much afraid. 

" Well — in I went yesterday, and was examined. It 
was such a queer concern. One of the junior Tutors had 
. me up, and he mvst be a new hand, he was so uneasy. 
He gave me the slowest examination ! I don't know 
to this minute what he was at. He first said a word or 
two, and then was silent. He then asked me why we 
came up to Dublin, and did not go down ; and put ^ome 
absurd little questions about Baivw. I was tolerably 
satisfied with myself, but he gave me no opportunity to 
show off. He asked me literally nothing ; he did not 
even give me a passage to construe for a long time, and 
then gave me nothing more than two or three easy 
sentences. And he kept playing with his paper knife, 
and saying : ' How are you now, Mr. Brown .-• don't be 
alarmed, Mr. Brown ; take your time, Mr. Brown ; you 
know very well, Mr. Brown ; ' so that I could hardly 
help laughing. I never was less afraid in my life. It 
would be wonderful if such an examination coutd put me 
out of countenance. 

Eleme7itary Studies. 351 

"There's a lot of things which I know very well, 
which the Examiner said not a word about. Indeed, I 
think I have been getting up a great many things for 
nothing ; — provoking enough. I had read a good deal 
of Grote ; but though I told him so, he did not ask me 
one question in it ; and there's Whewell, Macaulay, and 
Schlegel, all thrown away. 

He has not said a word yet where I am to be 
lodged. He looked quite confused when I asked him. 
' He is, I suspect, a character. 

" Your dutiful son, etc., 

" Robert." 

Mr. White to Mr. Brown, sen, 

" My dear Sir, 

" I have to acknowledge the kind letter you sent 
me by your son, and I am much pleased to find the 
confidence you express in us. Your son seems an 
amiable young man, of studious habits, and there is 
every hope, when he joins us, of his passing his academi- 
cal career with respectability, and his examination with 
credit. This is what I should have expected from his 
telling me that he had been educated at home under 
your own paternal eye ; indeed, if I do not mistake, you 
have undertaken the interesting office of instructor your- 

" I hardly know what best to recommend to him at 
the moment : his reading has been desultory ; he knows 
sotnething about a great many things, of which youths of 
his age commonly know nothing. Of course we could 
take him into residence now, if you urge it ; but my 
advice is that he should first direct his efforts to distinct 
preparation for our examination, and to study its par- 

352 Elementary Studies, 

ticular character. Our rule is to recommend youths to 
do a little tuell, instead of throwing themselves upon a 
large field of study. I conceive it to be your son's fault 
of mind not to see exactly the point of things, nor to be 
so well groimdcd as he might be. Young men are in- 
deed always wanting in accuracy ; this kind of deficiency 
is not peculiar to him, and he will doubtless soon over- 
come it when he sets about it. 

" On the whole, then, if you will kindly send him up 
six months hence he will be more able to profit by our 
lectures. I will tell him what to read in the meanwhile. 
Did it depend on me, I should send him for that time to 
a good school or college, or I could find you a private 
Tutor for him. 

" I am, etc." 

Mr. Brown, sen., to Mr. White. 
" Sir, 

" Your letter, which I have received by this morning's 
post, is gratifying to a parent's feelings, so far as it bears 
witness to the impression which my son's amiableness 
and steadiness have made on you. He is indeed a 
most exemplary lad : fathers are partial, and their word 
about their children is commonly not to be taken ; but 
I flatter myself that the present case is an exception to 
the rule ; for, if ever there was a well-conducted youth, 
it is my dear son. He is certainly very clever ; and a 
closer student, and, for his age, of more extensive read- 
ing and sounder judgment, does not exist. 

" With this conviction, you will excuse me if I say 
that there were portions of your letter which I could not 
reconcile with that part of it to which I have been allud- 
ing. You say he is ' a young man of studious habits, 
having ' every hope of passing his academical career with 

Elemejitary Studies. 353 

respectability, and his examination with credit;' you 
allow that 'he knows something about a great many 
things, of which youths of his age commonly know no- 
tJdng:' no common commendation, I consider; yet, in 
spite of this, you recommend, though you do not exact, 
as a complete disarrangement of my plans (for I do not 
know how long my duties will keep me in Ireland), a 
postponement of his coming into residence for six 

" Will you allow me to su'^gest an explanation of this 
inconsistency ? It is found in your confession that the 
examination is of a ' particular character.' Of course it 
is very right in the governors of a great Institution to be 
' particular,' and it is not for me to argue with them. 
Nevertheless, I cannot help saying, that at this day 
nothing is so much wanted in education as ^^«^r^/ know- 
ledge. This alone will fit a youth for the world. In a 
less stirring time, it may be well enough to delay in 
particularities, and to trifle over minutiae ; but the world 
will not stand still for us, and, unless we are up to its 
requisitions, we shall find ourselves thrown out of the 
contest. A man must have something in him now, to 
make his way; and the sooner we understand this, the 

" It mortified me, I confess, to hear from my son, that 
you did not try him in a greater number of subjects, ir^ 
handling which he would probably have changed your 
opinion of him. He has a good memory, and a great 
talent for history, ancient and modern, especially con- 
stitutional and parliamentary ; another favourite study 
with him is the philosophy of history. He has read 
Pritchard's Physical History, Cardinal Wiseman's Lec- 
tures on Science, Bacon's Advancement of Learning, 
Macaulay, and Hallam : I never met with a faster reader. 
1* 23 

354 Elementary Siudies. 

I have let him attend, in England, some of the most 
talented lecturers in chemistry, geology, and comparative 
anatomy, and he sees the Quarterly Reviews and the 
best Magazines, as a matter of course. Yet on these 
matters not a word of examination ! 

" I have forgotten to mention, he has a very pretty 
idea of poetical composition : I enclose a fragment 
which I have found on his table, as well as one of his 
prose Essays. 

" Allow me, as a warm friend of your undertaking, to 
suggest, that the substance of knowledge is far more valu- 
able than its technicalities ; and that the vigour of the 
youthful mind is but wasted on barren learning, and its 
ardour is quenched in dry disquisition. 

" I have the honour to be, etc." 

On the receipt of this letter, Mr. White will find, to 
his dissatisfaction, that he has not advanced one hair's 
breadth in bringing home to Mr. Brown's father the real 
state of the case, and has done no more than present 
himself as a mark for certain commonplaces, very true, 
but very inappropriate to the matter m hand. Filled 
with this disappointing thought, for a while he will not 
inspect the enclosures of Mr. Brown's letter, being his 
son's attempts at composition. At length he opens them, 
and reads as follows : 

Mr. Browns poetry. 


Oh, might I flee to Araby the blest, 

The world forgetting, but its gifts possessed, 

Where fair-eyed peace holds sway from shore to shore, 

And war's shrill clarion frights the air no more, 

* This was written in June, 1854, before the siege begaa. 

Elementary Studies. 355 

Heard ye the cloud-compelling blast * awake (* Bombarding) 
The slumbers of the inhospitable lake ? t (+ The Black Sea) 
Saw ye the banner in its pride unfold 
The blush of crimson and the blaze of gold ? 

Raglan and St. Arnaud, in high command, 
Have steamed from old Byzantium's hoary strand ; 
The famed Cyanean rocks presaged their fight, 
Twin giants, with the astonished Muscovite. 

So the loved maid, in Syria's balmy noon, 
Forebodes the coming of the hot simoon, 

And sighs 

And longs 

And dimly traces 


Mr. Brozvns prose, 
"fortes fortuna adjuvat." 

" Of all the uncertain and capricious powers which rule 
our earthly destiny, fortune is the chief. Who has not 
heard of the poor being raised up, and the rich being laid 
low ? Alexander the Great said he envied Diogenes in 
his tub, because Diogenes could have nothing less. We 
need not go far for an instance of fortune. Who was so 
great as Nicholas, the Czar of all the Russias, a year 
ago, and now he is " fallen, fallen from his high estate, 
without a friend to grace his obsequies." \ The Turks 
are the finest specimen of the human race, yet they, too, 
have experienced the vicissitudes of fortune. Horace 
says that we should wrap ourselves in our virtue, when 
fortune changes. Napoleon, too, shows us how little we 
can rely on fortune ; but his faults, great as they were, 
are being redeemed by his nephew, Louis Napoleon, who 
has shownhimself very different from what we expected, 
X Here again Mr. Brown prophesies. He wrote in June, 1854. . 

356 Elementary Studies. 

though he has never explained how he came to swear to 
the Constitution, and then mounted the imperial throne. 
" From all this it appears, that we should rely on for- 
tune only while it remains, — recollecting the words of 
-the thesis, 'Fortes fortuna adjuvat;' and that, above all, 
we should ever cultivate those virtues which will never 
fail us, and which are a sure basis of respectability, and 
will profit us here and hereafter." 

On reading these compositions over, Mr. White will 
tal.e to musing ; then he will reflect that he may as well 
spare himself the trouble of arguing with a correspondent, 
whose principle and standard of judgment is so different 
from his own ; and so he will write a civil letter back to 
Mr, Brown, enclosing the two papers. 


Mr. Brown, however, has not the resignation of Mr. 
White ; and, on his Dublin friend, Mr. Black, payings 
him a visit, he will open his mind to him ; and I am 
going to tell the reader all that will pass between the 

Mr. Black is a man of education and of judgment. He 
knows the difference between show and substance ; he is 
penetrated with the conviction that Rome was not built 
in a day, that buildings will not stand without founda- 
tions, and that, if boys are to be taught well, they must 
be taught slowly, and step by step. Moreover, he thinks 
in his secret heart that his own son Harry, whose ac- 
quaintance we have already formed, is worth a dozen 
young Browns. To him, then, not quite an impartial 
judge, Mr. Brown unbosoms his dissatisfaction, present- 
ing to him his son's Theme as an experimetitum cruets 
between him and Mr. White. Mr. Black reads it 

Elementary Studies. 357 

through once, and then a second time ; and then he 
observes — 

" Well, it is only the sort of thing which any boy 
would write, neither better nor worse. I speak candidly." 

On Mr. Brown expressing disappointment, inasmuch 
as the said Theme is not the sort of thing which any boy 
could write. Mr. Black continues — 

"There's not one word of it upon the thesis; but all 
boys write in this way." 

Mr. Brown directs his friend's attention to the know- 
ledge of ancient history which the composition displays, 
of Alexander and Diogenes; of the history of Napoleon ; 
to the evident interest which the young author takes in 
contemporary history, and his prompt appli^^ation of 
passing events to his purpose ; moreover, to the apposite 
quotation from Dryden, and the reference to Horace ; — 
all proofs of a sharp wit and a literary mind. 

But Mr. Black is more relentlessly critical than the 
occasion needs, and more pertinacious than any father 
can comfortably bear. He proceeds to break the butter- 
fly on the wheel in the following oration : — 

"Now look here," he says, "the subject is 'Fortes 
fortuna adjuvat' ; now this is -d. proposition ; it states a 
certain general principle, and this is just what an ordinary* 
boy would be sure to miss, and Robert does miss it. 
He goes off at once on the word * fortuna.' ' Fortuna' 
was not his subject ; the thesis was intended to guide him, 
for his own good ; he refuses to be put into leading- 
strings ; he breaks loose, and runs off in his own fashion 
on the broad field and in wild chase of ' fortune,' instead 
of closing with a subject, which, as being definite, would 
have supported him. 

" It would have been very cruel to have told a boy to 
write on ' fortune ' ; it would have been like asking him 

35S Elementary Studies, 

his opinion 'of things in general.' Fortune is 'good,' 
' bad,' ' capricious,' ' unexpected,' ten thousand things all 
at once (you see them all in the Gradus), and one of 
them as much as the other. Ten thousand things may- 
be said of it : give me one of them, and I will write upon 
it ; I cannot write on more than one ; Robert prefers to 
write upon all. 

" ' Fortune favours the bold ; ' here is a very definite 
subject : take hold of it, and it will steady and lead you 
on : you will know in what direction to look. Not one 
boy in a hundred does avail himself of this assistance ; 
your boy is not solitary in his inaccuracy ; all boys are 
more or less inaccurate, because they are boys ; boyish- 
ness of mind means inaccuracy. Boys cannot deliver a 
message, or execute an order, or relate an occurrence, 
without a blunder. They do not rouse up their attention 
and reflect : they do not like the trouble of it : they 
cannot look at anything steadily ; and, when they 
attempt to write, off they go in a rigmarole of words, 
which does them no good, and never would, though they 
scribbled themes till they wrote their fingers off. 

" A really clever youth, especially as his mind opens, 
is impatient of this defect of mind, even though, as being 
a youth, he be partially under its influence. He shrinks 
from a vague subject, as spontaneously as a slovenly 
mind takes to it ; and he will often show at disadvan- 
tage, and seem ignorant and stupid, from seeing more 
and knowing more, and having a clearer perception of 
things than another has. I recollect once hearing such 
a young man, in the course of an examination, asked 
very at)surdly what ' his opinion' was of Lord Chatham. 
Well, this was like asking him his view of ' things in 
general.' The poor youth stuck, and looked like a fool, 
though it was not he. The examiner, blind to his own 

Elementary Studies. 359 

absurdity, went on to ask him * what were the charac- 
teristics of EngHsh history.' Another silence, and the 
poor fellow seemed to lookers-on to be done for, when 
his only fault was that he had better sense than his 

" When I hear such questions put, I admire the tact 
of the worthy Milnwood in Old Mortality, when in a 
similar predicament. Sergeant Bothvvell broke into his 
house and dining-room in the king's name, and asked 
him what he thought of the murder of the Archbishop of 
St. Andrew's; the old man was far too prudent to hazard 
any opinion of his own, even on a precept of the Decalogue, 
when a trooper called for it ; so he glanced his eye down 
the Royal Proclamation in the Sergeant's hand, and ap- 
propriated its sentiments as an answer to the question 
before him. Thereby he was enabled to pronounce the 
said assassination to be 'savage,' 'treacherous,' 'diabolical,' 
and ' contrary to the king's peace and the security of the 
subject;' to the edification of all present, and the satis- 
faction of the military inquisitor. It was in some such 
way my young friend got off. His guardian angel re- 
minded him in a whisper that Mr. Grey, his examiner, 
had himself written a book on Lord Chatham and his 
times. This set him up at once ; he drew boldly on his 
knowledge of his man for the political views advanced in 
it; was at no loss for definite propositions to suit his pur- 
pose; recovered his ground, and came off triumphantly." 

Here Mr. Black stops; and Mr. Brown takes advantage 
of the pause to insinuate that Mr. Black is not himself a 
disciple of his own philosophy, having travelled some 
way from his subject; — his friend stands corrected, and 
retraces his steps. 

" The thesis," he begins again, "is 'Fortune favours 
the brave ; ' Robert has gone off with the nominative 

360 Elementary Studies. 

without waiting for verb and accusative. He might as 
easily have gone off upon 'brave,' or upon 'favour,' except 
that ' fortune ' comes first. He does not merely ramble 
from his subject, but he starts from a false point. Nothing 
could go right after this beginning, for having never gone 
ojf his subject (as I did off mine), he never could come 
back to it. However, at least he might have kept to 
some subject or other; he might have shown some exact- 
ness or consecutiveness in detail ; but just the contrary ; 
— observe. He begins by calling fortune 'a power' ; let 
that pass. Next, it is one of the powers 'which rule 
our earthly destiny,' that is, fortune rules destiny. Why, 
where there is fortune, there is no destiny ; where there 
is destiny, there is no fortune. Next, after stating gene- 
rally that fortune raises or depresses, he proceeds to ex- 
emplify: there's Alexander, for instance, and Diogenes, — 
instances, that is, of what fortune did not do, for they died, 
as they lived, in their respective states of life. Then comes 
the Emperor Nicholas hie et nunc; with the Turks on the 
other hand, place and time and case not stated. Then 
examples are dropped, and we are turned over to poetry, 
and what we ought to do, according to Horace, when for- 
tune changes. Next, we are brought back to our exam- 
ples, in order to commence a series of rambles, beginning 
with Napoleon the First. Apropos of Napoleon the First 
comes in Napoleon the Third ; this leads us to observe 
that the latter has acted ' very differently from what we 
expected ; ' and this again to the further remark, that no 
explanation has yet been given of his getting rid of the 
Constitution. He then ends by boldly quoting the thesis, 
in proof that we may rely on fortune, when we cannot 
help it; and by giving us advice, sound, but unexpected, 
to cultivate virtue." 

" O ! Black, it is quite ludicrous "... breaks in Mr. 

Eleme7itary Studies. 361 

Brown ; — this Mr. Brown must be a very good-tempered 
man, or he would not bear so much : — this is my remark, 
not Mr. Black's, who will not be interrupted, but only 
raises his voice : " Now, I know how this Theme was 
written," he says, "first one sentence, and then your boy 
sat thinking, and devouring the end of his pen ; presently 
down went the second, and so on. The rule is, first 
think, and then write: don't write when you have nothing 
to say ; or, if you do, you will make a mess of it. A 
thoughtful youth may deliver himself clumsily, he may 
set down little ; but depend upon it, his half sentences 
will be worth more than the folio sheet of another boy, 
and an experienced examiner will see it. 

" Now, I will prophesy one thing of Robert, unless this 
fault is knocked out of him," continues merciless Mr. 
Black. "When he grows up, and has to make a speech, 
or write a letter for the papers, he will look out for 
flowers, full-blown flowers, figures, smart expressions, trite 
quotations, hackneyed beginnings and endings, pompous 
circumlocutions, and so on : but the meaning, the sense, 
the solid sense, the foundation, you may hunt the slipper 
long enough before you catch it." 

"Well," says Mr. Brown, a little chafed, "you are a 
great deal worse than Mr. White ; you have missed your 
vocation : you ought to have been a schoolmaster." Yet 
he goes home somewhat struck by what his friend has 
said, and turns it in his mind for some time to come 
when he gets there. He is a sensible man at bottom, as 
well as good-tempered, this Mr, Brown. 


§. 3 — Latin Writing, 

MR. WHITE, the Tutor, is more and more pleased 
with young Mr. Black ; and, when the latter asks 
him for some hints for writing Latin, Mr. White takes 
him into his confidence and lends him a number of his 
own papers. Among others he puts the following into 
Mr. Black's hands. 

Mr. White s viezv of Latin translation. 

"There are four requisites of good Composition,— cor- 
rectness of vocabulary, or diction, syntax, idiom, and 
elegance. Of these, the two first need no explanation, 
and are likely to be displayed by every candidate. The 
last is desirable indeed, but not essential. The point 
which requires especial attention is idiomatic propriety. 

" By idiom is meant that use of words which is peculiar 
to a particular language. Two nations may have corre- 
sponding words for the same ideas, yet differ altogether 
in their mode of using those words. For instance, ' et ' 
means * and,' yet it does not always admit of being used 
in Latin, where ' and ' is used in English. ' Faire ' may 
be French for 'do'; yet in a particular phrase, for ' How 
do you do V ' faire ' is not used, but 'se porter,' viz., ' Com- 
ment vous portez-vous f ' An Englishman or a French- 
man would be almost unintelligible and altogether ridi- 
culous to each other, who used the French or English 
words, with the idioms or peculiar uses of his own Ian- 

Elementary Studies. 363 

guage. Hence, the most complete and exact acquain- 
tance with dictionary and grammar will utterly fail to 
teach a student to write or compose. Something more 
is wanted, viz., the knowledge of the use of words and 
constructions, or the knowledge of idiom. 

" Take the following English of a modern writer : 

" ' This is a serious consideration : — Among men, as 
among wild beasts, the taste of blood creates the 
appetite for it, and the appetite for it is strengthened 
by indulgence.' 

" Translate it word for word literally into Latin, 
thus : — 

" * Haec est seria consideratio. Inter homines, ut inter 
feras, gustus sanguinis creat ejus appetitum, et ejus 
appetitus indulgentia roboratur.' 

" Purer Latin, as far as diction is concerned, more 
correct, as far as syntax, cannot be desired. Every word 
is classical, every construction grammatical : yet Latinity 
it simply has none. From beginning to end it follows 
the English mode of speaking, or English idiom, not the 

" In proportion, then, as a candidate advances from 
this Anglicism into Latinity, so far does he write good 

" We might make the following remarks upon the 
above literal version. 

" I. * Consideratio ' is not 'a consideration ;' the Latins, 
having no article, are driven to expedients to supply its 
place, e.g., quidam is sometimes used for a. 

" 2. ' Consideratio ' is not ' a consideration,' i.e., a thing 
considered, or a subject ; but the act of considering. 

" 3. It must never be forgotten, that such words as 
'consideratio' are generally metaphorical, and therefore 
cannot be used simpiy, and without limitation or ex- 

364 Elementary Studies. 

planation, in the English sense, according to which the 
mental act is primarily conveyed by the word. ' Con- 
sideratio,' it is true, can be used absolutely, with greater 
propriety than most words of the kind ; but if we take 
a parallel case, for instance, ' agitatio,' we could not use 
it at once in the mental sense for 'agitation,' but we 
should be obliged to say ' agitatio mentis, animi' etc., 
thoug even then it would not answer to ' agitation.' 

" 4. ' Inter homines, gustus,' etc. Here the English, as 
is not uncommon, throws two ideas together. It means, 
first, that something occurs among men, and occurs 
among wild beasts, and that it is the same thing which 
occurs among both ; and secondly that this something 
is, that the taste of blood has a certain particular effect. 
In other words,. it means, (i) ' tJiis occurs among beasts 
and men,' (2) viz., that the ' taste of blood,' etc. There- 
fore, * inter homines, etc., gustus creat, etc.,' does not ex- 
press the English meaning, it only translates its expression. 

" 5. 'Inter homines' is not the Latin phrase for 'among.' 
'Inter' generally involves some sense of division, viz., 
interruption, contrast, rivalry, etc. Thus, with a singular 
noun, ' inter coenam hoc accidit,' i.e., this interrupted 
the supper. And so with two nouns, 'inter me et Brun- 
dusium Csesar est' And so with a plural noun, 'hoc 
inter homines ambigitur,' i.e., man with man. 'Micat 
inter omnes Julium sidus,' i.e., in the rivalry of star 
against star. ' Inter tot annos unus (vir) inventus est,' 
i.e., though all those years, one by one, put in their 
claim, yet only one of them can produce a man, etc. 
' Inter se diligunt,' they love each other. On the contrary, 
the Latin word for ' among,' simply understood, is ' in.* 

6. "As a general rule, indicatives active followed by 
accusatives, are foreign to the main structure of a Latin 

Elementary Siudies. 365 

"7. ' Et ; ' here two clauses are connected, having 
different subjects or nominatives ; in the former ' appe- 
titus ' is in the nominative, and in the latter in the accu- 
sative. It is usual in Latin to carry on the j-a;«^ subject, 
in connected clauses. 

" 8. * Et ' here connects two distinct clauses. ' Autem ' 
is more common. 

" These being some of the faults of the literal version, 
I transcribe the translations sent in to me by six of my 
pupils respectively, who, however deficient in elegance of 
composition, and though more or less deficient in hitting 
the Latin idiom, yet evidently know what idiom is. 

" The first wrote : — Videte rem graviorem ; quod feris, 
id hominibus quoque accidit, — sanguinis sitim semel 
gustantibus intus concipi, plene potantibus maturari. 

" The second wrote : — Res seria agitur ; nam quod in 
feris, illud in hominibus quoque cernitur, sanguinis 
appetitionem et suscitari lambendo at epulando inflam- 

" The third : — Ecce res summa consideratione digna ; 
et in feris et in hominibus, sanguinis semel delibati sitis 
est, saepius hausti libido. 

" The fourth : — SoUicit^ animadvertendum est, cum in 
feris tum in hominibus fieri, ut guttae pariant appetitum 
sanguinis, frequentiores potus ingluviem. 

" And the fifth : — Perpende sedulo, gustum sanguinis 
tam in hominibus quam in feris prim6 appetitionem sui 
tandem cupidinem inferre. 

"And the sixth: — Hoc grave est, quod hominibus 
cum feris videmus commune, gustasse est appetere san- 
guinem, hausisse in deliciis habere." 

Mr. Black, junr., studies this paper, and considers that 
he has gained something from it. Accordingly, when 
he sees his father, he mentions to him Mn White, his 

366 Elementary Studies, 

kindness, his papers, and especially the above, of which 
he has taken a copy. His father begs to see it ; and, 
being a bit of a critic, forthwith delivers his judgment 
on it, and condescends to praise it ; but he says that it 
fails in this, viz., in overlooking the subject of structure. 
He maintains that the turning-point of good or bad 
Latinity is, not idiom, as Mr, Wliite says, but structure. 
Then Mr. Black, the father, is led on to speak of himself, 
and of his youthful studies ; and he ends by giving Harry 
a history of his own search after the knack of writing 
Latin. I do not see quite how this is to the point of 
Mr. White's paper, which cannot be said to contradict 
Mr. Black's narrative ; but for this very reason, I may 
consistently quote it, for from a different point of view 
it may throw light on the subject treated in common by 
both these literary authorities. 

Cid Mr. B tack's Coiifession of his search after a Latin 

"The attempts and the failures and the successes of 
those who have gone before, my dear son, are the direc- 
tion-posts of those who come after ; and, as I am only 
speaking to you, it strikes me that I may, without 
egotism or ostentation, suggest views or cautions, which 
might indeed be useful to the University Student gene- 
rally, by a relation of some of my own endeavours to 
improve my own mind, and to increase my own know- 
ledge in my early life. I am no great admirer of self- 
taught geniuses ; to be self-taught is a misfortune, 
except in the case of those extraordinary minds, to 
whom the title of genius justly belongs ; for in most 
cases, to be self-taught is to be badly grounded, to be 

Elementary Studies. 367 

slovenly finished, and to be preposterously conceited. 
Nor, again, was that misfortune I speak of really mine ; 
but I have been left at times just so much to myself, as 
to make it possible for young students to gain hints from 
the history of my mind, which will be useful to them- 
selves. And now for my subject. 

"At school I was reckoned a sharp boy; I ran through 
its classes rapidly ; and by the time I was fifteen, my 
masters had nothing more to teach me, and did not know 
what to do with me. I might have gone to a public 
school, or to a private tutor for three or four years ; but 
there were reasons against either plan, and at the unusual 
age I speak of, with some inexact acquaintance with 
Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, and Xenophon, Horace, 
Virgil, and Cicero, I was matriculated at the University. 
I had from a child been very fond of composition, verse 
and prose, English and Latin, and took especial interest 
in the subject of style ; and one of the wishes nearest 
my heart was to write Latin well. I had some idea of 
the style of Addison, Hume, and Johnson, in English ; 
but I had no idea what was meant by good Latin style. 
I had read Cicero without learning what it was ; the 
books said, ' This is neat Ciceronian language,' ' this is 
pure and elegant Latinity,' but they did not tell me why. 
Some persons told me to go by my ear ; to get Cicero 
by heart ; and then I should know how to turn my 
thoughts and marshal my words, nay, more, where to 
put subjunctive moods and where to put indicative. In 
consequence I had a vague, unsatisfied feeling on the 
subject, and kept grasping shadows, and had upon me 
something of the unpleasant sensation of a bad dream. 

" When I was sixteen, I fell upon an article in the 
Qiiarterty, which reviewed a Latin history of (I think) 
the Rebellion of 171 5 ; pernaps by Dr. Whitaker. 

368 Elementary Studies. 

Years afterwards I learned that the critique was the 
writing of a celebrated Oxford scholar ; but at the time, 
it was the subject itself, not the writer, that took hold of 
me. I read it carefully, and made extracts which, I 
believe, I have to this day. Had I known more of Latin 
writing, it would have been of real use to me ; but as it 
was concerned of necessity in verbal criticisms, it did but 
lead me deeper into the mistake to which I had already 
been introduced, — that Latinity consisted in using good 
phrases. Accordingly I began noting down, and using 
in my exercises, idiomatic or peculiar expressions : such 
as ' oleum perdidi,' * hand scio an non,' ' cogitanti mihi,' 
'verum enimvero,' 'equidem,' ' dixerim,' and the like; 
and I made a great point of putting the verb at the end 
of the sentence. What took me in the same direction 
was Dumesnil's Synonymes, a good book, but one which 
does not even profess to teach Latin writing. I was 
aiming to be an architect by learning to make bricks. 

" Then I fell in with the Gennania and Agricola of 
Tacitus, and was very much taken by his style. Its 
peculiarities were much easier to understand, and to 
copy, than Cicero's : * decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile ; ' 
and thus, without any advance whatever in understanding 
the genius of the language, or the construction of a Latin 
sentence, I added to my fine words and cut-and-dried 
idioms, phrases smacking of Tacitus. The Dialogues of 
Erasmus, which I studied, carried me in the same direc- 
tion ; for dialogues, from the nature of the case, consist 
of words and clauses, and smart, pregnant, or colloquial 
expressions, rather than of sentences with an adequate 

Mr. Black takes breath, and then continues : 
"The labour, then, of years came to nothing, and when 
I w^as twenty I knew no more of Latin composition than 

EUtne7itary Studies, 369 

I had known at fifteen. It was then that circumstances 
turned my attention to a volume of Latin Lectures, 
which had been published by the accomplished scholar 
of whose critique in the Quarterly Reviezv \ have already 
spoken. The Lectures in question had been delivered 
terminally while he held the Professorship of Poetry, 
and were afterwards collected into a volume ; and various 
circumstances combined to give them a peculiar character. 
Delivered one by one at intervals, to a large, cultivated, 
and critical audience, they both demanded and admitted 
of special elaboration of the style. As coming from a 
person of his high reputation for Latinity, they were dis- 
plays of art ; and, as addressed to persons who had to 
follow ex tempore the course of a discussion delivered in 
a foreign tongue, they needed a style as nea% pointed, 
lucid, and perspicuous as it was ornamental. Moreover, 
as expressing modern ideas in an ancient language, they 
involved a new development and application of its powers. 
The result of these united conditions was a style less 
simple, less natural and fresh, than Cicero's ; more studied, 
more ambitious, more sparkling ; heaping together in a 
page the flowers which Cicero scatters over a treatise ; 
but still on that very account more fitted for the purpose 
of inflicting upon the inquiring student what Latinity was. 
Any how, such was its effect upon me ; it was like the 
' Open Sesame ' of the tale ; and I quickly found that I 
had a new sense, as regards composition, that I under- 
stood beyond mistake what a Latin sentence should be, 
and saw how an English sentence must be fused and 
remoulded in order to make it Latin. Henceforth Cicero, 
as an artist, had a meaning, when I read him, which he 
never had had to me before ; the bad dream of seeking 
and never finding was over ; and, whether I ever wrote 
Latin or not, at least I knew what good Latin was. 
7* 24 

370 Elementary Studies. 

" I had now learned that good Latinity lies in struc- 
ture ; that every word of a sentence may be Latin, yet 
the whole sentence remain English ; and that diction- 
aries do not teach composition. Exulting in my dis- 
covery, I next proceeded to analyze and to throw into 
the shape of science that idea of Latinity to which I had 
attained. Rules and remarks, such as are contained in 
works on composition, had not led me to master the 
idea ; and now that I really had gained it, it led me to 
form from it rules and remarks for myself. I could now 
turn Cicero to account, and I proceeded to make his 
writings the materials of an induction, from which I 
drew out and threw into form what I have called a 
science of Latinity, — with its principles and peculiarities, 
their connection and their consequences, — or at least 
considerable specimens of such a science, the like of 
which I have not happened to see in print. Consider- 
ing, however, how much has been done for scholarship 
since the time I speak of, and especially how many 
German books have been translated, I doubt not I 
should now find my own poor investigations and dis- 
coveries anticipated and superseded by works which are 
in the hands of every school-boy. At the same time, 
I am quite sure that I gained a very great deal in the 
way of precision of thought, delicacy of judgment, and 
refinement of taste, by the processes of induction to 
which I am referring. I kept blank books, in which 
every peculiarity in every sentence of Cicero was 
minutely noted down, as I went on reading. The 
force of words, their combination into phrases, their 
collocation — the carrying on of one subject or nomina- 
tive through a sentence, the breaking up of a sentence 
into clauses, the evasion of its categorical form, the reso- 
lution of abstract nouns into verbs and participles ; — ■ 

Eleincjitary Studies. 371 

what is possible in Latin composition and what is not, 
how to compensate for want of brevity by elegance, and 
to secure perspicuity by the use of figures, these, and a 
hundred similar points of art, I illustrat-d with a dili- 
gence which even bordered on subtlety. Cicero became 
a mere magazine of instances, and the main use of the 
river was to feed the canal. I am unable to say whether 
these elaborate inductions would profit any one else, but 
I have a vivid recollection of the great utility they were 
at that time to my own mind. 

"The general subject of Latin composition, my dear 
son, has ever interested me much, and you see only one 
point in it has made me speak for a quarter of an hour ; 
but now that I have had my say about it, what is its 
upshot } The great moral I would impress upon you is 
this, that in learning to write Latin, as in all learning, 
you must not trust to books, but only make use of 
them ; not hang like a dead weight upon your teacher, 
but catch some of his life ; handle what is given you, 
not as a formula, but as a pattern to copy and as a 
capital to improve ; throw your heart and mind into 
what you are about, and thus unite the separate advan- 
tages of being tutored and of being self-taught, — self- 
taught, yet without oddities, and tutorized, yet without 

" Why, my dear father," says young Mr. Black, " you 
speak like a book. You must let me ask you to write 
down for me what you have been giving out in conver- 

/ have had the advantage of the written copy. 


§. 4- — General Religious Knowledge. 

IT has been the custom in the English Universities 
to introduce religious instruction into the School of 
Arts ; and a very right custom it is, which every Univer- 
sity may well imitate. I have certainly felt it ought to 
have a place in that School ; yet the subject is not with- 
out its difficulty, and I intend to say a few words upon 
it here. That place, if it has one, should of course be 
determined on some intelligible principle, which, while 
it justifies the introduction of Religion into a secular 
Faculty, will preserve it from becoming an intrusion, by 
fixing the conditions under which it is to be admitted. 
There are many who would make over the subject ot 
Religion to the theologian exclusively ; there are others 
wl;o allow it almost unlimited extension in the province 
of Letters. The latter of these two classes, if not large, 
at least is serious and earnest ; it seems to consider that 
the Classics should be superseded by the Scriptures and 
the Fathers, and that Theology proper should be taught 
to the youthful aspirant for University honours. I am 
not here concerned with opinions of this character, which 
I respect, but cannot follow. Nor am I concerned with 
that large class, on the other hand, who, in their ex- 
clusion of Religion from the iccture-rooms of Philosophy 
and Letters (or of Arts, as it used to be called), are 
actuated by scepticism or indifference ; but there are 
other persons, much to be consulted, who arrive at the 

Elementary Studies. 373 

same practical conclusion as the sceptic and unbeliever, 
from real reverence and pure zeal for the interests of 
Theology, which they consider sure to suffer from the 
superficial treatment of lay-professors, and the superficial 
reception of young minds, as soon as, and in whatever 
degree, it is associated with classical, philosophical, and 
historical studies ; — and as very many persons of great 
consideration seem to be of this opinion, I will set down 
the reasons why I follow the English tradition instead, 
and in what sense I follow it. 

I might appeal, I conceive, to authority in my favour, 
but I pass it over, because mere authority, however 
sufficient for my own guidance, is not sufficient for the 
definite direction of those who have to carry out the 
matter of it in practice. 


In the first place, then, it is congruous certainly that 
youths who are prepared in a Catholic University for 
the general duties of a secular life, or for the secular 
professions, should not leave it without some knowledge 
of their religion ; and, on the other hand, it does, in 
matter of fact, act to the disadvantage of a Christian 
place of education, in the world and in the judgment of 
men of the world, and is a reproach to its conductors, 
and even a scandal, if it sends out its pupils accomplished 
in all knowledge except Christian knowledge ; and hence, 
even though it were irnpossible to rest the introduction 
of religious teaching into the secular lecture-room upon 
any logical principle, the imperative necessity of its in- 
troduction would remain, and the only question would 
be, what matter was to be introduced, and how much. 

And next, considering that, as the mind is enlarged 
and cultivated generally, it is capable, or rather is 

374 Elementary Studies. 

desirous and has need, of fuller religious information, it 
is difficult to maintain that that knowledge of Christi- 
anity which is sufficient for entrance at the University is 
all that is incumbent on students who have been sub- 
mitted to the academical course. So that we are un- 
avoidably led on to the further question, viz., shall we 
sharpen and refine the youthful intellect, and then leave 
it to exercise its new powers upon the most sacred of 
subjects, as it will, and with the chance of its exercising 
them wrongly ; or shall we proceed to feed it with divine 
truth, as it gains an appetite for knowledge } 

Religious teaching, then, is urged upon us in the case 
of University students, first, by its evident propriety ; 
secondly, by the force of public opinion ; thirdly, from 
the great inconveniences of neglecting it. And, if the 
subject of Religion is to have a real place in their course 
of study, it must enter into the examinations in which 
that course results ; for nothing will be found to impress 
and occupy their minds but such matters as they have 
to present to their Examiners. 

Such, then, are the considerations which actually oblige 
us to introduce the subject of Religion into our secular 
schools, whether it be logical or not to do so ; but next, 
I think that we can do so without any sacrifice of prin- 
ciple or of consistency ; and this, I trust, will appear, if 
\ proceed to explain the mode which I should propose 
to adopt for the purpose : — 

I would treat the subject of Religion in the School of 
Philosophy and Letters simply as a branch of know- 
ledge. If the University student is bound to have a 
knowledge of History generally, he is bound to have 
inclusively a knowledge of sacred history as well as 
profane ; if he ought to be well instructed in Ancient 
Literature, BibHcal Literature comes under that general 

Elementary Studies. 375 

description as well as Classical ; if he knows the Philo- 
sophy of men, he will not be extravagating from his 
general subject, if he cultivate also that Philosophy which 
is divine. And as a student is not necessarily superficial, 
though he has not studied all the classical poets, or all 
Aristotle's philosophy, so he need not be dangerously 
superficial, if he has but a parallel knowledge of Religion. 


However, it may be said that the risk of theological 
error is so serious, and the effects of theological conceit 
are so mischievous, that it is better for a youth to know 
nothing of the sacred subject, than to have a slender 
knowledge which he can use freely and recklessly, for 
the vtry reason that it is slender. And here we have 
the maxim in corroboration : " A little learning is a 
dangerous thing." 

This objection is of too anxious a character to be dis- 
regarded. I should answer it thus : — In the first place it 
is obvious to remark, that one great portion of the know- 
ledge here advocated is, as I have just said, historical 
knowledge, which has little or nothing to do with doc- 
trine. If a Catholic youth mixes with educated Protes- 
tants of his own age, he will find them conversant with 
the outlines and the characteristics of sacred and eccle- 
siastical history as well as profane : it is desirable that 
he should be on a par with them, and able to keep up a 
conversation with them. It is desirable, if he has left 
our University with honours or prizes, that he should 
know as well as they about the great primitive divisions 
of Christianity, its polity, its luminaries, its acts, and its 
fortunes ; its great eras, and its course down to this day. 
He should have some idea of its propagation, and of the 
order in which the nations, which have submitted to it, 

376 Elementary Studies. 

entered its pale ; and of the list of its Fathers, and of 
its writers generally, and of the subjects of their works. 
He should know who St, Justin Martyr was, and when 
he lived ; what language St. Ephraim wrote in ; on what 
St. Chrysostom's literary fame is founded ; who was 
Celsus, or Ammonius, or Porphyry, or Ulphilas, or Sym- 
machus, or Theodoric. Who were the Nestorians ; what 
was the religion of the barbarian nations who took pos- 
session of the Roman Empire : who was Eutyches, or 
Berengarius, who the Albigenses. He should know 
something about the Benedictines, Dominicans, or Fran- 
ciscans, about the Crusades, and the chief movers in 
them. He should be able to say what the Holy See 
has done for learning and science ; the place which these 
islands hold in the literary history of the dark age ; what 
part the Church had, and how her highest interests fared, 
in the revival of letters ; who Bessarion was, or Ximenes, 
or William of Wykeham, or Cardinal Allen. I do not 
say that we can insure all this knowledge in every ac- 
complished student who goes from us, but at least we 
can admit such knowledge, we can encourage it, in our 
lecture-rooms and examination-halls. 

And so in like manner, as regards Biblical knowledge, 
it is desirable that, while our students are encouraged to 
pursue the history of classical literature, they should 
also be invited to acquaint themselves with some general 
facts about the canon of Holy Scripture, its history, the 
Jewish canon, St. Jerome, the Protestant Bible; again, 
about the languages of Scripture, the contents of its 
separate book.s, their authors, and their versions. In all 
such knowledge I conceive no great harm can lie in being 

But now as to Theology itself. To meet the appre- 
hended danger, I would exclude the teaching tJi extcnso of 

Elementary Studies. Zll 

pure dogma from the secular schools, and content my- 
self with enforcing such a broad knowledge of doctrinal 
subjects as is contained in the catechisms of the Church, 
or the actual writings of her laity. I would have students 
apply their minds to such religious topics as laymen 
actually do treat, and are thought praiseworthy in 
treating. Certainly I admit that, when a lawyer or 
physician, or statesman, or merchant, or soldier sets 
about discussing theological points, he is likely to suc- 
ceed as ill as an ecclesiastic who meddles with law, or 
medicine, or the exchange. But I am professing to con- 
template Christian knowledge in what may be called its 
secular aspect, as it is practically useful in the intercourse 
of life and in general conversation ; and I would encou- 
rage it so far as it bears upon the history, the literature, 
and the philosophy of Christianity. 

It is to be considered that our students are to go out 
into the world, and a world not of professed Catholics, 
but of inveterate, often bitter, commonly contemptuous, 
Protestants ; nay, of Protestants who, so far as they 
come from Protestant Universities and public schools, 
do know their own system, do know, in proportion to 
their general attainments, the doctrines and arguments 
of Protestantism. I should desire, then, to encourage 
in our students an intelligent apprehension of the rela- 
tions, as I may call them, between the Church and 
Society at large ; for instance, the difference between 
the Church and a religious sect ; the respective preroga- 
tives of the Church and the civil power ; what the Church 
claims of necessity, what it cannot dispense with, what 
it can ; what it can grant, what it cannot, A Catholic 
hears the celibacy of the clergy discussed in general 
society ; is that usage a matter of faith, or is it not ot 
faith 1 He hears the Pope accused of interfering with 

37^ Elefjieniary Studies. 

the prerogatives of her Majesty, because he appoints an 
hierarchy. What is he to answer? What principle is to 
guide him in the remarks which he cannot escape from 
the necessity of making? He fills a station of impor- 
tance, and he is addressed by some friend who has political 
reasons for wishing to know what is the difference be- 
tween Canon and Civil Law, whether the Council of 
Trent has been received in France, whether a Priest 
cannot in certain cases absolve prospectively, what is 
meant by his intentio7i, what by the opus opej'atum ; 
whether, and in what sense, we consider Protestants to 
be heretics ; whether any one can be saved without 
sacramental confession ; whether we deny the reality of 
natural virtue, or what worth we assign to it ? 

Questions may be multiphed without limit, which 
occur in conversation between friends, in social inter- 
course, or in the business of life, when no argument is 
needed, no subtle and delicate disquisition, but a few 
direct words stating the fact, and when perhaps a few 
words may even hinder most serious inconveniences to the 
Catholic body. Half the controversies which go on in 
the world arise from ignorance of the facts of the case ; 
half the prejudices against Catholicity lie in the misin- 
formation of the prejudiced parties. Candid persons are 
set right, and enemies silenced, by the mere statement 
of what it is that we believe. It will not answer the 
purpose for a Catholic to say, " I leave it to theologians," 
" I will ask my priest;" but it will commonly give him 
a triumph, as easy as it is complete, if he can then and 
there lay down the law. I say " lay down the law ; " for 
remarkable it is that even those who speak against 
Catholicism like to hear about it, and will excuse its 
advocate from alleging arguments if he can gratify 
their curiosity by giving them information. Generally 

Elementary Studies, 379 

speaking, however, as I have said, what is given as informa- 
tion will really be an argument as well as information. I 
recollect, some twenty-five years ago, three friends of my 
own, as they then were, clergymen of the Establishment, 
making a tour through Ireland. In the West or South 
they had occasion to become pedestrians for the day ; 
and they took a boy of thirteen to be their guide. They 
amused themselves with putting questions to him on the 
subject of his religion ; and one of them confessed to me 
on his return that that poor child put them all to silence. 
How ? Not, of course, by any train of arguments, or re- 
fined theological disquisition, but merely by knowing and 
understanding the answers in his catechism. 

Nor will argument itself be out of place in the hands 
of laymen mixing with the world. As secular power, 
influence, or resources are never more suitably placed 
than when they are in the hands of Catholics, so secular 
knowledge and secular gifts are then best employed 
when they minister to Divine Revelation. Theologians 
inculcate the matter, and determine the details of that 
Revelation ; they view it from within ; philosophers view 
it from without, and this external view may be called 
the Philosophy of Religion, and the office of delineating 
It externally is most gracefully performed by laymen. 
In the first age laymen were most commonly the Apolo- 
gists. Such were Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Aristides, 
Hermias, Minucius Felix, Arnobius, and Lactantius. In 
like manner in this age som>e of the most prominent 
defences of the Church are from laymen : as De Maistre, 
Chateaubriand, Nicolas, Montalembert, and others. If 
laymen may write, lay students may read ; they surely 
may read what their fathers may have written. They 

380 Elementary Studies. 

might surely study other works too, ancient and modern, 
written whether by ecclesiastics or laymen, which, al- 
though they do contain theology, nevertheless, in theii 
structure and drift, are polemical. Such is Origen's great 
work against Celsus ; and Tertullian's Apology ; such 
some of the controversial treatises of Eusebius and 
Theodoret ; or St. Augustine's City of God ; or the tract 
of Vincentius Lirinensis. And I confess that I should 
not even object to portions of Bellarmine's Controversies, 
or to the work of Suarez on laws, or to Melchior Canus's 
treatises on the Loci Theologici. On these questions in 
detail, however, — which are, I readily acknowledge, very 
delicate, — opinions may differ, even where the general 
principle is admitted ; but, even if we confine ourselves 
strictly to the Philosophy, that is, the external contem- 
plation, of Religion, we shall have a range of reading 
sufficiently wide, and as valuable in its practical applica- 
tion as it is liberal in its character. In it will be included 
what are commonly called the Evidences ; and what is 
a subject of special interest at this day, the Notes of the 

But I have said enough in general illustration of the 
rule which I am recommending. One more remark I 
make, though it is implied in what I have been saying : — 
Whatever students read in the province of Religion, 
they read, and would read from the very nature of 
the case, under the superintendence, and with the expla- 
nations, of those who are older and more experienced 
than themselves. 



§. I. Its Sefitiments, 


THOUGH it cannot be denied that at the present 
day, in consequence of the close juxtaposition and 
intercourse of men of all religions, there is a considerable 
danger of the subtle, silent, unconscious perversion and 
corruption of Catholic intellects, who as yet profess, and 
sincerely profess, their submission to the authority of 
Revelation, still that danger is far inferior to what it was 
in one portion of the middle ages. Nay, contrasting the 
two periods together, we may even say, that in this very 
point they differ, that, in the medieval, since Catholicism 
was then the sole religion recognized in Christendom, 
unbelief necessarily made its advances under the lan- 
guage and the guise of faith ; whereas in the present, 
when universal toleration prevails, and it is open to 
assail revealed truth (whether Scripture or Tradition, 
the Fathers or the " Sense of the faithful"), unbelief in 
consequence throws off the mask, and takes up a position 
over against us in citadels of its own, and confronts us 
in the broad light and with a direct assault. And I have 
no hesitation in saying (apart of course from moral and 
ecclesiastical considerations, and under correction of the 

382 A Form of InficUlity of the Da \ : 

command and policy of the Church), that I prefer to live 
in an age when the fight is in the day, not in the 
twilight ; and think it a gain to be speared by a foe, rather 
than to be stabbed by a friend. 

I do not, then, repine at all at the open development 
of unbelief in Germany, supposing unbelief is to be, or at 
its growing audacity in England ; not as if I were satis- 
fied with the state of things, considered positively, but 
because, in the unavoidable alternative of avowed unbe 
lief and secret, my own personal leaning is in favour of 
the former. I hold that unbelief is in some shape una- 
voidable in an age of intellect and in a world like this, 
considering that faith requires an act of the will, and 
presupposes the due exercise of religious advantages. 
You may persist in calling Europe Catholic, though it is 
not ; you may enforce an outward acceptance of Catho- 
lic dogma, and an outward obedience to Catholic pre- 
cept ; and your enactments may be, so far, not only 
pious in themselves, but even merciful towards the 
teachers of false doctrine, as well as just towards their 
victims ; but this is all that you can do ; you cannot 
bespeak conclusions which, in spite of yourselves, you 
are leaving free to the human will. There will be, I say, 
in spite of you, unbelief and immorality to the end of 
the world, and you must be prepared for immorality 
more odious, and unbelief more astute, more subtle, 
more bitter, and more resentful, in proportion as it is 
obliged to dissemble. 

It is one great advantage of an age in which unbelief 
speaks out, that Faith can speak out too ; that, if false- 
hood assails Truth, Truth can assail falsehood. In such 
an age it is possible to found a University more empha- 
tically Catholic than could be set up in the middle age, 
because Truth can entrench itself carefully, and define 

A Form of lytfidelity of the Day. 383 

its own profession severely, and display its colours 
unequivocally, by occasion of that very unbelief which 
so shamelessly vaunts itself. And a kindred advantage 
to this is the confidence which, in such an age, we can 
place in all who are around us, so that we need look foi 
no foes but those who are in the enemy's camp. 


The medieval schools were the areiia of as critical 
a struggle between truth and error as Christianity has 
ever endured ; and the philosophy which bears their 
name carried its supremacy by means of a succession 
of victories in the cause of the Church. Scarcely had 
Universities risen into popularity, when they were found 
to be infected with the most subtle and fatal forms of 
unbelief ; and the heresies of the East germinated in the 
West of Europe and in Catholic lecture-rooms, with a 
mysterious vigour upon which history throws little light. 
The questions agitated were as deep as any in theology ; 
the being and essence of the Almighty were the main 
subjects of the disputation, and Aristotle was introduced 
to the ecclesiastical youth as a teacher of Pantheism. 
Saracenic expositions of the great philosopher were in 
vogue ; and, when a fresh treatise was imported from 
Constantinople, the curious and impatient student threw 
himself upon it, regardless of the Church's warnings, 
and reckless of the effect upon his own mind. The 
acutest intellects became sceptics and misbelievers ; and 
the head of the Holy Roman Empire, the Caesar Frede- 
rick the Second, to say nothing of our miserable king 
John, had the reputation of meditating a profession of 
Mahometanism. It is said that, in the community at 
large, men had a vague suspicion and mistrust of each 
other's belief in Revelation. A secret society was dis- 

384 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

covered in the Universities of Lombardy, Tuscany, and 
France, organized for the propagation of infidel opinions ; 
it was bound together by oaths, and sent its missionaries 
among the people in the disguise of pedlars and vagrants. 

The success of such efforts was attested in the south 
of France by the great extension of the Albigenses, and 
the prevalence of Manichean doctrine. The University 
of Paris was obliged to limit the number of its doctors in 
theology to as few as eight, from misgivings about the 
orthodoxy of its divines generally. The narrative of 
Simon of Tournay, struck dead for crying out after 
lecture, "Ah ! good Jesus, I could disprove Thee, did I 
please, as easily as I have proved," whatever be its 
authenticity, at least may be taken as a representation 
of the frightful peril to which Christianity was exposed. 
Amaury of Chartres was the author of a school of Pan- 
theism, and has given his name to a sect ; Abelard, 
Roscelin, Gilbert, and David de Dinant, Tanquelin, and 
Eon, and others who might be named, show the extra- 
ordinary influence of anti-Catholic doctrines on high 
and low. Ten ecclesiastics and several of the populace 
of Paris were condemned for maintaining that our Lord's 
reign was past, that the Holy Ghost was to be incarnate, 
or for parallel heresies. 

Frederick the Second established a University at 
Naples with a view to the propagation of the infidelity 
which was so dear to him. It gave birth to the great 
St. Thomas, the champion of revealed truth. So inti- 
mate was the intermixture, so close the grapple, between 
faith and unbelief. It was the conspiracy of traitors, it 
was a civil strife, of which the medieval seats of learning 
were the scene. 

In this day, on the contrary. Truth and Error lie over 
against each other with a valley between them, and 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 385 

David goes forward in the sight of all men, and from 
his own camp, to engage with the Philistine. Such is 
the providential overruling of that principle of toleration, 
which was conceived in the spirit of unbelief, in order to 
the destruction of Catholicity. The sway of the Church 
fs contracted ; but she gains in intensity what she loses 
m extent. She has now a direct command and a reliable 
influence over her own institutions, which was wanting 
in the middle ages. A University is her possession in 
these times, as well as her creation : nor has she the 
need, which once was so urgent, to expel heresies from 
her pale, which have now their own centres of attrac- 
tion elsewhere, and spontaneously take their departure. 
Secular advantages no longer present an inducement to 
hypocrisy, and her members in consequence have the 
consolation of being able to be sure of each other. How 
much better is it, for us at least, whatever it may be for 
themselves (to take a case before our eyes in Ireland), 
that those persons, who have left the Church to become 
ministers in the Protestant Establishment, should be in 
their proper place, as they are, than that they should 
have perforce continued in her communion ! I repeat 
it, I would rather fight with unbelief as we find it in the 
nineteenth century, than as it existed in the twelfth and 

I look out, then, into the enemy's camp, and I try to 
trace the outlines of the hostile movements and the 
preparations for assault which are there in agitation 
against us. The arming and the manoeuvring, the earth- 
works and the mines, go on incessantly ; and one cannot 
of course tell, without the gift of prophecy, which of his 
projects will be carried into effect and attain its purpose, 
7* 2.5 

386 A Form of hifideliiy of the Day. 

and which will eventually fail or be abandoned. Threaten- 
ing demonstrations may come to nothing ; and those 
who are to be our most formidable foes, may before the 
attack elude our observation. All these uncertainties, 
we know, are the lot of the soldier in the field : and 
they are parallel to those which befall the warriors of 
the Temple. Fully feeling the force of such considera- 
tions, and under their correction, nevertheless I make 
my anticipations according to the signs of the times ; 
and such must be ray proviso, when I proceed to describe 
some characteristics of one particular form of infidelity, 
which is coming into existence and activity over against 
us, in the intellectual citadels of England. 

It must not be supposed that I attribute, what I am 
going to speak of as a form of infidelity of the day, to 
any given individual or individuals ; nor is it necessary 
to my purpose to suppose that any one man as yet con- 
sciously holds, or sees the drift, of that portion of the 
theory to which he has given assent. I am to describe 
a set of opinions which may be considered as the true 
explanation of many floating views, and the converging 
point of a multitude of separate and independent minds; 
and, as of old Arius or Nestorius not only was spoken 
of in his own person, but was viewed as the abstract and 
typical teacher of the heresy which he introduced, and 
thus his name denoted a heretic more complete and 
explicit, even though not more formal, than the here- 
siarch himself, so here too, in like manner, I may be 
describing a school of thought in its fully developed 
proportions, which at present every one, to whom mem- 
bership with it is imputed, will at once begin to disown, 
and I may be pointing to teachers whom no one will be 
able to descry. Still, it is not less true that I may be 
speaking of tendencies and elements which exist ; and 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 387 

he may come in person at last, who comes at first to us 
merely in his spirit and in his power. 

The teacher, then, whom I speak of, will discourse 
thus in his secret heart :— He will begin, as many so far 
have done before him, by laying it down as if a position 
which approves itself to the reason, immediately that it 
is fairly examined, — which is of so axiomatic a character 
as to have a claim to be treated as a first principle, and 
is firm and steady enough to bear a large superstructure 
upon it, — that Religion is not the subject-matter of a 
science. " You may have opinions in religion, you may 
have theories, you may have arguments, you may have 
probabilities ; you may have anything but demonstration, 
and therefore you cannot have science. In mechanics 
you advance from sure premisses to sure conclusions ; in 
optics you form your undeniable facts into system, 
arrive at general principles, and then again infallibly 
apply them : here you have Science. On the other 
hand, there is at present no real science of the weather, 
because you cannot get hold of facts and truths on which 
it depends ; there is no science of the coming and going 
of epidemics ; no science of the breaking out and the 
cessation of wars ; no science of popular likings and dis- 
likings, or of the fashions. It is not that these subject- 
matters are themselves incapable of science, but that, 
under existing circumstances, we are incapable of sub- 
jecting them to it. And so, in like manner," says the 
philosopher in question, "without denying that in the 
matter of religion some things are true and some things 
false, still we certainly are not in a position to determine 
the one or the other. And, as it would be absurd to 
dogmatize about the weather, and say that i860 will be 
a wet season or a dry season, a time of peace or war, so 
it is absurd for men in our present state to teach any- 

388 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

thing positively about the next world, that there is a 
heaven, or a hell, or a last judgment, or that the soul is 
immortal, or that there is a God, It is not that you have 
not a right to your own opinion, as you have a right to 
place implicit trust in your own banker, or in your own 
physician ; but undeniably such persuasions are not 
knowledge, they are not scientific, they cannot become 
public property, they are consistent with your allowing 
your friend to entertain the opposite opinion ; and, if 
you are tempted to be violent in the defence of your own 
view of the case in this matter of religion, then it is well 
to lay seriously to heart whether sensitiveness on the 
subject of your banker or your doctor, when he is handled 
sceptically by another, would not be taken to argue a 
secret misgiving in your mind about him, in spite of your 
confident profession, an absence of clear, unruffled cer- 
tainty in his honesty or in his skill," 

Such is our philosopher's primary position. He does 
not prove it ; he does but distinctly state it ; but he 
thinks it self-evident when it is distinctly stated. And 
there he leaves it. 


Taking his primary position henceforth for granted, 
he will proceed as follows : — " Well, then, if Religion is 
just one of those subjects about which we can know no- 
thing, what can be so absurd as to spend time upon it .-* 
what so absurd as to quarrel with others about it ,-* Let 
us all keep to our own religious opinions respectively, 
and be content ; but so far from it, upon no subject 
whatever has the intellect of man been fastened so in- 
tensely as upon Religion. And the misery is, that, if 
once we allow it to engage our attention, we are in a 
circle from which we never shall be able to extricate 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 389 

ourselves. Our mistake reproduces and corroborates itself. 
A small insect, a wasp or a fly, is unable to make his way- 
through the pane of glass ; and his very failure is the oc- 
casion of greater violence in his struggle than before. He 
is as heroically obstinate in his resolution to succeed as 
the assailant or defender of some critical battle-field ; he 
is unflagging and fierce in an effort which cannot lead to 
anything beyond itself. When, then, in like manner, you 
have once resolved that certain religious doctrines shall be 
indisputably true, and that all men ought to perceive their 
truth, you have engaged in an undertaking which, though 
continued on to eternity, will never reach its aim ; and, 
since you are convinced it ought to do so, the more you 
have failed hitherto, the more violent and pertinacious will 
be your attempt in time to come. And further still, since 
you are not the only man in the world who is in this error, 
but one of ten thousand, all holding the general principle 
that Religion is scientific, and yet all differing as to the 
truths and facts and conclusions of this science, it follows 
that the misery of social disputation and disunion is added 
to the misery of a hopeless investigation, and life is not 
only wasted in fruitless speculation, but embittered by 
bigotted sectarianism. 

" Such is the state in which the world has laid," it will 
be said, " ever since the introduction of Christianity. 
Christianity has been the bane of true knowledge, for it 
has turned the intellect away from what it can know, and 
occupied it in what it cannot. Differences of opinion crop 
up and multiply themselves, in proportion to the diffi- 
culty of deciding them ; and the unfruitfulness of Theo- 
logy has been, in matter of fact, the very reason, not for 
seeking better food, but for feeding on nothing else. 
Truth has been sought in the wrong direction, and the 
attainable has been put aside for the visionary." 

390 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

Now, there is no call on me here to refute these argu- 
ments, but merely to state them. I need not refute what 
has not yet been proved. It is sufficient for me to repeat 
what I have already said, that they are founded upon a 
mere assumption. Siipposmg^ indeed, religious truth can- 
not be ascertained, tJien, of course, it is not only idle, but 
mischievous, to attempt to do so ; then, of course, argu- 
ment does but increase the mistake of attempting it. But 
surely both Catholics and Protestants have written solid 
defences of Revelation, of Christianity, and of dogma, as 
such, and these are not simply to be put aside without 
saying why. It has not yet been shown by our philo- 
sophers to be self-evident that religious truth is really 
incapable of attainment ; on the other hand, it has at 
least been powerfully argued by a number of profound 
minds that it can be attained ; and the onus probandi 
plainly Hes with those who are introducing into the world 
what the whole world feels to be a paradox. 

However, where men really are persuaded of all this, 
however unreasonable, what will follow .■' A feeling, not 
merely of contempt, but of absolute hatred, towards the 
Catholic theologian and the dogmatic teacher. The 
patriot abhors and loathes the partizans who have de- 
graded and injured his country ; and the citizen of the 
world, the advocate of the human race, feels bitter indig- 
nation at those whom he holds to have been its misleaders 
and tyrants for two thousand years. "The world has 
lost two thousand years. It is pretty much where it was 
in the days of Augustus. This is what has come of priests." 
There are those who are actuated by a benevolent liberal- 
ism, and condescend to say that Catholics are not worse 
than other maintainers of dogmatic theology. There are 

A Fonn of In/idility of the Day. 391 

those, again, who are good enough to grant that the 
CathoHc Church fostered knowledge and science up to 
the days of Galileo, and that she has only retrograded 
for the last several centuries. But the new teacher, whom 
I am contemplating in the light of that nebula out of 
which he will be concentrated, echoes the words of the 
early persecutor of Christians, that they are the "enemies 
of the human race." " But for Athanasius, but for 
Augustine, but for Aquinas, the world would have had 
its Bacons and its Newtons, its Lavoisiers, its Cuviers, its 
Watts, and its Adam Smiths, centuries upon centuries 
ago. And now, when at length the true philosophy has 
struggled into existence, and is making its way, what is 
left for its champion but to make an eager desperate 
attack upon Christian theology, the scabbard flung away, 
and no quarter given .■' and what will be the issue but 
the triumph of the stronger, — the overthrow of an old 
error and an odious tyranny, and a reign of the beautiful 
Truth ? " Thus he thinks, and he sits dreaming over the 
inspiring thought, and longs for that approaching, that 
inevitable day. 

There let us leave him for the present, dreaming and 
longing in his impotent hatred of a Power which Julian 
and Frederic, Shaftesbury and Voltaire, and a thousand 
other great sovereigns and subtle thinkers, have assailed 
in vain. 



§ 2. Its Policy, 


T is a miserable time when a man's Catholic profes- 
sion is no voucher for his orthodoxy, and when a 
teacher of religion may be within the Church's pale, yet 
external to her faith. Such has been for a season the 
trial of her children at various eras of her history. It was 
the state of things during the dreadful Arian ascendancy, 
when the flock had to keep aloof from the shepherd, 
and the unsuspicious Fathers of the Western Councils 
trusted and followed some consecrated sophist from 
Greece or Syria. It was the case in those passages of 
medieval history when simony resisted the Supreme 
Pontiff, or when heresy lurked in Universities. It was a 
longer and more tedious trial, while the controversies 
lasted with the Monophysites of old, and with the Jan- 
senists in modern times. A great scandal it is and a 
perplexity to the little ones of Christ, to have to choose 
between rival claimants upon their allegiance, or to find 
a condemnation at length pronounced upon one uhom 
in their simplicity they have admired. We, too, in this 
age have our scandals, for scandals must be ; but they 
are not what they were once ; and if it be the just com- 
plaint of pious men now, that never was infidelity so 
rampant, it is their boast and consolation, on the other 
hand, that never was the Church less troubled with false 
teachers, never more united. 

False teachers do not remain within her pale now, 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 393 

because they can easily leave it, and because there are 
seats of error external to her to which they are attracted. 
" They went out from us," says the Apostle, " but they 
were not of us ; for if they had been of us, they would 
no doubt have continued with us : but that they might 
be made manifest that they are not all of us." It is a 
great gain when error becomes manifest, for it then ceases 
to deceive the simple. With these thoughts I began to 
describe by anticipation the formation of a school of 
unbelief external to the Church, which perhaps as yet 
only exists, as I then expressed it, in a nebula. In the 
middle ages it might have managed, by means of subter- 
fuges, to maintain itself for a while within the sacred 
limits, — now of course it is outside of it ; yet still, from 
the intermixture of Catholics with the world, and the 
present immature condition of the false doctrine, it may 
at first exert an influence even upon those who would 
shrink from it if they recognized it as it really is and as 
it will ultimately show itself. Moreover, it is natural, and 
not unprofitable, for persons under our circumstances to 
speculate on the forms of error with which a University 
of this age will have to contend, as the medieval Univer- 
sities had their own special antagonists. And for both 
reasons I am hazarding some remarks on a set of opinions 
and a line of action which seems to be at present, at least 
in its rudiments, in the seats of English intellect, whether 
the danger dies away of itself or not. 

I have already said that its fundamental dogma is, 
that nothing can be known for certain about the unseen 
woild. This being taken for granted as a self-evident 
point, undeniable as soon asstated,itgoeson,or will goon, 
to argue that, in consequence, the immense outlay which 
has been made of time, anxiety, and toil, of health, bodily 
and mental, upon theological researches, has been simply 

394 -^ Fo7-m of Infidelity of the Day. 

thrown away ; nay, has been, not useless merely, but 
even mischievous, inasmuch as it has indirectly thwarted 
the cultivation of studies of far greater promise and 
of an evident utility. This is the main position of the 
School I am contemplating; and the result, in the minds 
of its members, is a deep hatred and a bitter resentment 
against the Power which has managed, as they consider, 
to stunt the world's knowledge and the intellect of man 
for so many hundred years. Thus much I have already 
said, and now I am going to state the line of policy which 
these people will adopt, and the course of thought which 
that policy of theirs will make necessary to them or 


Supposing, then, it is the main tenet of the School 
in question, that the study of Religion as a science has 
been the bane of philosophy and knowledge, what 
remedy will its masters apply for the evils they de- 
plore ? Should they profess themselves the antagonists 
of theology, and engage in argumentative exercises with 
theologians ? This evidently would be to increase, to 
perpetuate the calamity. Nothing, they will say to them- 
selves, do religious men desire so ardently, nothing would 
so surely advance the cause of Religion, as Controversy. 
The very policy of religious men, they will argue, is to get 
the world to fix its attention steadily upon the subject of 
Religion, and Controversy is the most effectual means of 
doing this. And their own game, they will consider, 
is, on the contrary, to be elaborately silent about it. 
Should they not then go on to shut up the theological 
schools, and exclude Religion from the subjects scienti- 
fically treated in philosophical education } This indeed 
has been, and is, a favourite mode of proceeding with very 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 395 

many of the enemies of Theology ; but still it cannot be 
said to have been justified by any greater success than the 
policy of Controversy. The establishment of the Lon- 
don University only gave immediate occasion to the 
establishment of King's College, founded on the dogma- 
tic principle ; and the liberalism of the Dutch govern- 
ment led to the restoration of the University of Louvain. 
It is a well-known story how the very absence of the 
statues of Brutus and Cassius brought them more vividly 
into the recollection of the Roman people. When, then, 
in a comprehensive scheme of education, Religion alone 
is excluded, that exclusion pleads in its behalf. What- 
ever be the real value of Religion, say these philosophers 
to themselves, it has a name in the world, and must not 
be ill-treated, lest men should rally round it from a feel- 
ing of generosity. They will decide, in consequence, that 
the exclusive method, though it has met with favour in 
this generation, is quite as much a mistake as the con- 

Turning, then, to the Universities of England, they 
will pronounce that the true policy to be observed there 
would be simply to let the schools of Theology alone. 
Most unfortunate it is that they have been roused from 
the state of decadence and torpor in which they lay some 
twenty or thirty years ago. Up to that time, a routine 
lecture, delivered once to successive batches of youn'y 
men destined for the Protestant Ministry, not durino- 
their residence, but when they were leaving or had 
already left the University, — and not about dogmatics, 
history, ecclesiastical law, or casuistry, but about the list 
of authors to be selected and works to be read by those 
who had neither curiosity to read them nor money to 
purchase ; — and again a periodical advertisement of a 
lecture on the Thirty-nine Articles, which was never 

39^ A Form of Ivjidelity of the Day. 

delivered because it was never attended, — these two de- 
monstrations, one undertaken by one theological Pro- 
fessor, the other by another, comprised the theological 
teaching of a seat of learning which had been the home 
of Duns Scotus and Alexander Hales. What envious 
mischance put an end to those halcyon days, and revived 
the odhnn tJieologicum in the years which followed ? Let 
us do justice to the authoritative rulers of the University; 
they have their failings ; but not to them is the revo- 
lution to be ascribed. It was nobody's fault among all 
the guardians of education and trustees of the intellect 
in that celebrated place. However, the mischief has 
been done; and now the wisest course for the interests 
of infidelity is to leave it to itself,, and let the fever 
gradually subside ; treatment would but irritate it. Not 
to interfere with Theology, not to raise a little finger 
against it, is the only means of superseding it. The 
more bitter is the hatred which such men bear it, the 
less they must show it. 


What, then, is the line of action which they must pur- 
sue t They think, and rightly think, that, in all contests, 
the wisest and largest policy is to conduct a positive, 
not a negative opposition, not to prevent but to antici- 
pate, to obstruct by constructing, and to exterminate by 
supplanting. To cast any slight upon Theology, whether 
in its Protestant or its Catholic schools, would be to 
elicit an inexhaustible stream of polemics, and a phalanx 
of dogmatic doctors and confessors. 

" Let alone Camarina, for 'tis best let alone." 

The proper procedure, then, is, not to oppose Theology, 
but to rival it. Leave its teachers to themselves ; merely 

A Form of bifidelity of the Day. 397 

aim at the introduction of other studies, which, while 
they have the accidental charm of novelty, possess a 
surpassing interest, richness, and practical value of their 
own. Get possession of these studies, and appropriate 
them, and monopolize the use of them, to the exclusion 
of the votaries of Religion. Take it for granted, and 
protest, for the future, that Religion has nothing to do 
with the studies to which I am alluding, nor those studies 
with Religion. Exclaim and cry out, if the Catholic 
Church presumes herself to handle what you mean to 
use as a weapon against her. The range of the Experi- 
mental Sciences, viz., psychology, and politics, and political 
economy, and the many departments of physics, various 
both in their subject-matter and their method of re- 
search ; the great Sciences which are the characteristics 
of this era, and which become the more marvellou.s, 
the more thoroughly they are understood, — astronomy, 
magnetism, chemistry, geology, comparative anatomy, 
natural history, ethnology, languages, political geography, 
antiquities, — these be your indirect but effectual means 
of overturning Religion ! They do but need to be 
seen in order to be pursued ; you will put an end, 
in the Schools of learning, to the long reign of the un- 
seen shadowy world, by the mere exhibition of the 
visible. This was impossible heretofore, for the visible 
world was so little known itself ; but now, thanks to the 
New Philosophy, sight is able to contest the field with 
faith. The medieval philosopher had no weapon against 
Revelation but Metaphysics ; Physical Science has a 
better temper, if not a keener edge, for the purpose. 

Now here I interrupt the course of thought I am 
tracing, to introduce a caveat, lest I should be thought 
to cherish any secret disrespect towards the sciences I 
have enumerated, or apprehension of their legitimate 

398 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

tend-encies ; whereas my very object is to protest against 
a monopoly of them by others. And it is not surely a 
heavy imputation on them to say that they, as other 
divine gifts, may be used to wrong purposes, with which 
they have no natural connection, and for which they 
were never intended ; and that, as in Greece the element 
of beauty, with which the universe is flooded, and the 
poetical faculty, which is its truest interpreter, were 
made to minister to sensuality ; as, in the middle ages, 
abstract speculation, another great instrument of truth, 
was often frittered away in sophistical exercises ; so now, 
too, the department of fact, and the method of research 
and experiment which is proper to it, may for the moment 
eclipse the light of faith in the imagination of the student, 
and be degraded into the accidental tool, hie et nunc, of 
infidelity. I am as little hostile to physical science as I 
am to poetry or metaphysics ; but I wish for studies of 
every kind a legitimate application : nor do I grudge 
them to anti-Catholics, so that anti-Catholics will not 
claim to monopolize them, cry out when we profess 
them, or direct them against Revelation. 

I wish, indeed, I could think that these studies were 
not intended by a certain school of philosophers to bear 
directly against its authority. There are those who hope, 
there are those who are sure, that in the incessant inves- 
tigation of facts, physical, political, and moral, something 
or other, or many things, will sooner or later turn up, 
and stubborn facts too, simply contradictory of revealed 
declarations. A vision comes before them of some phy- 
sical or historical proof tnat mankind is not descended 
from a common origin, or that the hopes of the world 
were never consigned to a wooden ark floating on the 
waters, or that the manifestations on Mount Sinai were 
the work of man or nature, or that the Hebrew patriarchs 

A Form 0/ Lifiddity 0/ the Day. 399 

or the judges of Israel are mythical personages, or that 
St. Peter had no connection with Rome, or that the doc- 
trine of the Holy Trinity or of the Real Presence was 
foreign to primitive belief An anticipation possesses 
them that the ultimate truths embodied in mesmerism 
will certainly solve all the Gospel miracles ; or that to 
Niebuhrize the Gospels or the Fathers is a simple 
expedient for stultifying the whole Catholic system. 
They imagine that the eternal, immutable word of God 
is to quail and come to nought before the penetrating 
intellect of man. And, where this feeling exists, there 
will be a still stronger motive for letting Theology alone. 
That party, with whom success is but a matter of time, 
can afford to wait patiently ; and if an inevitable train 
is laid for blowing up the fortress, why need we be 
anxious that the catastrophe should take place to-day, 
rather than to-morrow ? 


But, without making too much of their own anticipa- 
tions on this point, which may or may not be in part 
tulfilled, these men have secure grounds for knowing that 
the sciences, as they would pursue them, will at least he 
prejudicial to the religious sentiment. Any one study, 
of whatever kind, exclusively pursued, deadens in the 
mind the interest, nay, the perception of any other. Thus, 
Cicero says that Plato and Demosthenes, Aristotle and 
Isocrates, might have respectively excelled in each other's 
province, but that each was absorbed in his own ; his 
words are emphatic ; "quorum uterque, suo studio delec- 
tatus, contemsit alterum." Specimens of this peculiarity 
occur every day. You can hardly persuade some men 
to talk about any thing but their own pursuit ; they refer 
the whole world to their own centre, and measure all 

400 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

matters by their own rule, like the fisherman in the 
drania, whose eulogy on his deceased lord was, that " he 
was so fond of fish." The saints illustrate this on the 
other hand ; St. Bernard had no eye for architecture ; 
St. Basil had no nose for flowers ; St. Aloysius had no 
palate for meat and drink ; St. Paula or St. Jane Frances 
could spurn or could step over her own child ; — not that 
natural faculties were wanting to those great servants of 
God, but that a higher gift outshone and obscured every 
lower attribute of man, as human features may remain 
in heaven, yet the beauty of them be killed by the sur- 
passing light of glory. And in like manner it is clear 
that the tendency of science is to make men indifier- 
entists or sceptics, merely by being exclusively pursued. 
The party, then, of whom I speak, understanding this 
well, would suffer disputations in the theological schools 
every day in the year, provided they can manage to keep 
the students of science at a distance from them. 

Nor is this all ; they trust to the influence of the 
modern sciences on what maybe called the Imagination. 
When any thing, which comes before us, is very unlike 
what we commonly experience, we consider it on that 
account untrue ; not because it really shocks our reason 
as improbable, but because it startles our imagination as 
strange. Now, Revelation presents to us a perfectly dif- 
ferent aspect of the universe from that presented by the 
Sciences. The two informations are like the distinct 
subjects represented by the lines of the same drawing, 
which, accordingly as they are read on their concave or 
convex side, exhibit to us now a group of trees with 
branches and leaves, and now human faces hid amid the 
leaves, o'" some majestic figures standing out from the 
branches. Thus is faith opposed to sight : it is parallel 
to the contrast afforded by plane astronomy and physical; 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 401 

plane, in accordance with our senses, discourses of the 
sun's rising and setting, while physical, in accordance 
with our reason, asserts, on the contrary, that the sun is 
all but stationary, and that it is the earth that moves. 
This is what is meant by saying that truth lies in a well; 
phenomena are no measure of fact ; prima facie repre- 
sentations, which we receive from without, do not reach 
to the real state of things, or put them before us simply 
as they are. 

While, then. Reason and Revelation are consistent in 
fact, they often are inconsistent in appearance ; and 
this seeming discordance acts most keenly and alarm- 
ingly on the Imagination, and may suddenly expose a 
man to the temptation, and even hurry him on to the 
commission, of definite acts of unbelief, in which reason 
itself really does not come into exercise at all. I mean, 
let a person devote himself to the studies of the day ; 
let him be taught by the astronomer that our sun is but 
one of a million central luminaries, and our earth but one 
of ten million globes moving in space; let him learn 
from the geologist that on that globe of ours enormous 
revolutions have been in progress through innumerable 
ages ; let him be told by the comparative anatomist 
of the minutely arranged system of organized nature ; 
by the chemist and physicist, of the peremptory yet 
intricate laws to which nature, organized and inorganic, 
is subjected ; by the ethnologist, of the originals, and 
ramifications, and varieties, and fortunes of nations ; by 
the antiquarian, of old cities disinterred, and primitive 
countries laid bare, with the specific forms of human 
society once existing ; by the linguist, of the slow form- 
ation and development of languages ; by the psycho- 
logist, the physiologist, and the economist, of the subtle, 
complicated structure of the breathing, energetic, restless 
7* 26 

402 A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 

world of men ; I say, let him take in and master the 
vastness of the view thus afforded him of Nature, its 
infinite complexity, its awful comprehensiveness, and its 
diversified yet harmonious colouring ; and then, when he 
has for years drank in and fed upon this vision, let him 
turn round to peruse the inspired records, or listen to 
the authoritative teaching of Revelation, the book of 
Genesis, or the warnings and prophecies of the Gospels, 
or the Symbolum Quicumque, or the Life of St. Antony 
or St. Hilarion, and he may certainly experience a most 
distressing revulsion of feeling,* — not that his reason 
really deduces any thing from his much loved studies 
contrary to the faith, but that his imagination is be- 
wildered, and swims with the sense of the ineffable dis- 
tance of that faith from the view of things which is 
familiar to him, with its strangeness, and then again 
its rude simplicity, as he considers it, and its apparent 
poverty contrasted with the exuberant life and reality 
of his own world. All this, the school I am speaking 
of understands well ; it comprehends that, if it can 
but exclude the professors of Religion from the lecture- 
halls of science, it may safely allow them full play in 
their own ; for it will be able to rear up infidels, without 
speaking a word, merely by the terrible influence of that 
faculty against which both Bacon and Butler so solemnly 
warn us. 

I say, it leaves the theologian the full and free pos- 
session of his own schools, for it thinks he will have no 
chance of arresting the opposite teaching or of rivalling 
the fascination of modern science. Knowing little, and 
caring less for the depth and largeness of that heavenly 
Wisdom, on which the Apostle delights to expatiate, or 
the variety of those sciences, dogmatic or ethical, mysti- 
• Vid. University Sermons, vii., 14. 

A Form of Infidelity of the Day. 403 

cal or hagiological, historical or exegetical, which Reve- 
lation has created, these philosophers know perfectly- 
well that, in matter of fact, to beings, constituted as we 
are, sciences which concern this world and this state of 
existence are worth far more, are more arresting and 
attractive, than those which relate to a system of things 
which they do not see and cannot master by their natural 
powers. Sciences which deal with tangible facts, prac- 
tical results, evergrowing discoveries, and perpetual 
novelties, which feed curiosity, sustain attention, and 
stimulate expectation, require, they consider, but a fair 
stage and no favour to distance that Ancient Truth, 
which never changes and but cautiously advances, in 
the race for popularity and power. And therefore they 
look out for the day when they shall have put down 
Religion, not by shutting its schools, but by emptying 
them ; not by disputing its tenets, but by the superior 
worth and persuasiveness of their own. 

Such is the tactic which a new school of philosophers 
adopt against Christian Theology. They have this 
characteristic, compared with former schools of infidelity, 
viz., the union of intense hatred with a large toleration 
of Theology. They are professedly civil to it, and run 
a race with it. They rely, not on any logical disproof 
of it, but on three considerations ; first, on the effects of 
studies of whatever kind to indispose the mind towards 
other studies ; next, on the special effect of modern 
sciences upon the imagination, prejudicial to revealed 
truth ; and lastly, on the absorbing interest attached to 
those sciences from their marvellous results. This line 
of action will be forced upon these persons by the pecu- 
liar character and position of Religion in England. 

^04 -A Form of hifidelity of the Day. 

And here I have arrived at the Hmits of my paper 
before I have finished the discussion upon which I have 
entered ; and 1 must be content with having made some 
suggestions which, if worth anything, others may use. 





WHEN I obtained from various distinguished per- 
sons the acceptable promise that they would give 
me the advantage of their countenance and assistance by- 
appearing from time to time in the pulpit of our new 
University, some of them accompanied that promise with 
the natural request that I, who had asked for it, should 
offer them my own views of the mode and form in which 
the duty would be most satisfactorily accomplished. On 
the other hand, it was quite as natural that I on my part 
should be disinclined to take on myself an office which 
belongs to a higher station and authority in the Church 
than my own ; and the more so, because, on the definite 
subject about which the inquiry is made, I should have 
far less direct aid from the writings of holy men and great 
divines than I could desire. Were it indeed my sole 
business to put into shape the scattered precepts which 
saints and doctors have delivered upon it, I might have 
ventured on such a task with comparatively little mis- 
giving. Under the shadow of the great teachers of the 
pastoral office I might have been content to speak, with- 
out looking out for any living authority to prompt me. 
liut this unfortunately is not the case ; such venerable 
guidance docs not extend beyond the general principles 

4o6 University Preaching. 

and rules of preaching, and these require both expansion 
and adaptation when they are to be made to bear on 
compositions addressed in the name of a University to 
University men. They define the essence of Christian 
preaching, which is one and the same in all cases ; but 
not the subject-matter or the method, which vary accord- 
ing to circumstances, Sti'l, after all, the points to which 
they do reach are more, and more important, than those 
which they fall short of I therefore, though with a good 
deal of anxiety, have attempted to perform a task which 
seemed naturally to fall to me ; and I am thankful to 
say that, though I must in some measure go beyond the 
range of the simple direction to which I have referred, 
the greater part of my remarks will lie within it. 


I. So far is clear at once, that the preacher's object is 
the spiritual good of his hearers. " Finis praedicanti sit," 
says St. Francis de Sales; "ut vitam (justitiae) habeant 
homines, et abundantius habeant." And St. Charles : 
" Considerandum, ad Dei omnipotentis gloriam, ad ani- 
marumque salutem, referri omnem concionandi vim ac 
rationem." Moreover, " Praedicatorem esse ministrum 
Dei, per quem verbum Dei a spiritus fonte ducitur ad 
fidelium animas irrigandas." As a marksman aims at 
the target and its bull's-eye, and at nothing else, so the 
preacher must have a definite point before him, which he 
has to hit. So much is contained for his direction in this 
simple maxim, that duly to enter into it and use it is half 
the battle ; and if he mastered nothing else, still if he 
really mastered as much as this, he would know all that 
was imperative for the due discharge of his office. 

For what is the conduct of men who have one object 
definitely before them, and one only ? Why, that, what- 

University Preachi)2g. 407 

ever be their skill, whatever their resources, greater or 
less, to its attainment all their efforts are simply, spon- 
taneously, visibly, directed. This cuts off a number of 
questions sometimes asked about preaching, and extin- 
guishes a number of anxieties. "Sollicita es, et turbaris," 
says our Lord to St. Martha; "erga plurima; porrounum 
est necessarium." We ask questions perhaps about dic- 
tion, elocution, rhetorical power; but does the commander 
of a besieging force dream of holiday displays, reviews, 
mock engagements, feats of strength, or trials of skill, 
such as would be graceful and suitable on a parade 
ground when a foreigner of rank was to be received and 
feted ; or does he aim at one and one thing only, viz., to 
take the strong place .-* Display dissipates the energy, 
which for the object in view needs to be concentrated 
and condensed. We have no reason to suppose that the 
Divine blessing follows the lead of human accomplish- 
ments. Indeed, St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, 
who made much of such advantages of nature, contrasts 
the persuasive words of human wisdom " with the show- 
ing of the Spirit," and tells us that " the kingdom of God 
is not in speech, but in power." 

But, not to go to the consideration of divine influences, 
which is beyond my subject, the very presence of simple 
earnestness is even in itself a powerful natural instrument 
to effect that toward which it is directed. Earnestness 
creates earnestness in others by sympathy ; and the more 
a preacher loses and is lost to himself, the more does he 
gain his brethren. Nor is it without some logical force 
also ; for what is powerful enough to absorb and possess 
a preacher has at least a prima facie claim of attention 
on the part of his hearers. On the other hand, any thing 
which interferes with this earnestness, or which argues 
its absence, is still more certain to blunt the force of the 

4o8 University Preaching. 

most cogent argument conveyed in the most eloquent 
language. Hence it is that the great philosopher of 
antiquity, in speaking, in his Treatise on Rhetoric, of 
the various kinds of persuasives, which are available in 
the Art, considers the most authoritative of these to be 
that which is drawn from personal traits of an ethical 
nature evident in the orator ; for such matters are cog- 
nizable by all men, and the common sense of the world 
decides that it is safer, where it is possible, to commit 
oneself to the judgment of men of character than to any. 
considerations addressed merely to the feelings or to the 

On these grounds I would go on to lay down a precept, 
which I trust is not extravagant, when allowance is made 
for the preciseness and the point which are unavoidable 
in all categorical statements upon matters of conduct. 
It is, that preachers should neglect everything whatever 
besides devotion to their one object, and earnestness in 
pursuing it, till they in some good measure attain to these 
requisites. Talent, logic, learning, words, manner, voice, 
action, all are required for the perfection of a preacher ; 
but "one thing is necessary," — an intense perception and 
appreciation of the end for which he preaches, and that is, 
to be the minister of some definite spiritual good to those 
who hear him. Who could wish to be more eloquent, 
more powerful, more successful than the Teacher of the 
Nations } yet who more earnest, who more natural, who 
more unstudied, who more self-forgetting than he ? 


(i.) And here, in order to prevent misconception, two 
remarks must be made, which will lead us further into 
the subject we are engaged upon. The first is, that, in 
what I have been saying, I do not mean that a prcachei 

Universiiy Preaching. 409 

must aim at earnestness, but that he must aim at his 
object, which is to do some spiritual good to his hearers, 
and which will at once make him earnest. It is said 
that, when a man has to cross an abyss by a narrow 
plank thrown over it, it is his wisdom, not to look at the 
plank, along which lies his path, but to fix his eyes 
steadily on the point in the opposite precipice at which 
the plank ends. It is by gazing at the object which he 
must reach, and ruling himself by it, that he secures to 
himself the power of walking to it straight and steadily. 
The case is the same in moral matters ; no one will 
become really earnest by aiming directly at earnest- 
ness ; any one may become earnest by meditating on 
the motives, and by drinking at the sources, of earnest- 
ness. We may of course work ourselves up into a pre- 
tence, nay, into a paroxysm, of earnestness ; as we may 
chafe our cold hands till they are warm. But when we 
cease chafing, we lose the v/armth again ; on the con- 
trary, let the sun come out and strike us with his beams, 
and we need no artificial chafing to be warm. The hot 
words, then, and energetic gestures of a preacher, taken 
by themselves, are just as much signs of earnestness as 
rubbing the hands or flapping the arms together are 
signs of warmth ; though they are natural where earnest- 
ness already exists, and pleasing as being its spontaneous 
concomitants. To sit down to compose for the pulpit 
with a resolution to be eloquent is one impediment to 
persuasion ; but to be determined to be earnest is abso- 
lutely fatal to it. 

He who has before his mental eye the Four Last 

Things will have the true earnestness, the horror or the 

rapture, of one who witnesses a conflagration, or discerns 

some rich and sublime prospect of natural scenery. His 

* countenance, his manner, his voice, speak for him, in pro- 

4IO University Preaching. 

portion as his view has been vivid and minute. The 
great English poet has described this sort of eloquence 
when a calamity had befallen : — 

Yea, this man's brow, like to a title page, 
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume. 
Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek 
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. 

It is this earnestness, in the supernatural order, which 
is the eloquence of saints; and not of saints only, but of 
all Christian preachers, according to the measure of 
their faith and love. As the case would be with one 
who has actually seen what he relates, the herald of 
tidings of the invisible world also will be, from the 
nature of the case, whether vehement or calm, sad or 
exulting, always simple, grave, emphatic, and peremp- 
tory ; and all this, not because he has proposed to him- 
self to be so, but because certain intellectual convictions 
involve certain external manifestations. St, Francis de 
Sales is full and clear upon this point. It is necessary, 
he says, "ut ipsemet penitus hauseris, ut persuasissimam 
tibi habeas, doctrinam quam aliis persuasam cupis. 
Artificium summum erit, nullum habere artificium. In- 
flammata sint verba, non clamoribus gesticulationibusve 
immodicis, sed interiore affectione. De corde plus quam 
de ore proficiscantur. Quantumvis ore dixerimus, sane 
cor cordi loquitur, lingua non nisi aures pulsat." St. 
Augustine had said to the same purpose long before : 
'* Sonus verborum nostrorum aures percutit ; magister 
intus est." 

(2.) My second remark is, that it is the preacher's duty 
to aim at imparting to others, not any fortuitous, unpre- 
meditated benefit, but some definite spiritual good. It is 
here that design and study find their place ; the more 

University Preaching. 411 

exact and precise is the subject which he treats, the more 
impressive and practical will he be ; whereas no one will 
carry off much from a discourse which is on the general 
subject of virtue, or vaguely and feebly entertains the 
question of the desirableness of attaining Heaven, or the 
rashness of incurring eternal ruin. As a distinct image 
before the mind makes the preacher earnest, so it will give 
him something which it is worthwhile to communicate to 
others. Mere sympathy, it is true, is able, as I have said, 
to transfer an emotion or sentiment from mind to mind, 
but it is not able to fix it there. He must aim at imprint- 
ing on the heart what will never leave it, and this he 
cannot do unless he employ himself on some definite 
subject, which he has to handle and weigh, and then, as it 
were, to hand over from himself to others. 

Hence it is that the Saints insist so expressly on the 
necessity of his addressing himself to the intellect of 
men, and of convincing as well as persuading. " Necesse 
est ut doceat et moveat," says St. Francis ; and St. 
Antoninus still more distinctly : " Debet praedicator 
clare loqui, ut itistruat intellectual auditoris, et doceat," 
Hence, moreover, in St. Ignatius's Exercises, the act of 
the intellect precedes that of the affections. Father 
Lohner seems to me to be giving an instance in point 
when he tells us of a court-preacher, who delivered what 
would be commonly considered eloquent sermons, and 
attracted no one ; and next took to simple explanations 
of the Mass and similar subjects, and then found the 
church thronged. So necessary is it to have something 
to say, if we desire any one to listen. 

Nay, I would go the length of recommending a 
preacher to place a distinct categorical proposition 
before him, such as he can write down in a form of words, 
and to guide and limit his preparation by it, and to aim 

412 Ufiiversity Preaching. 

in all he says to bring it out, and nothing- else. This 
seems to be implied or suggested in St. Charles's direc- 
tion : " Id omnino studebit, ut quod in concione dicturus est 
antea bene cognitum habeat." Nay, is it not expressly con- 
veyed in the Scripture phrase of " preaching the zvord" f 
for what is meant by " the word " but a proposition ad- 
dressed to the intellect .'' nor will a preacher's earnestness 
show itself in anything more unequivocally than in his re- 
jecting, whatever be the temptation to admit it, every 
remark, however original, every period, however eloquent, 
which does not in some way or other tend to bring out this 
one distinct proposition which he has chosen. Nothing is 
so fatal to the effect of a sermon as the habit of preaching 
on three or four subjects at once. I acknowledge I am 
advancing a step beyond the practice of great Catholic 
preachers when I add that, even though we preach on 
only one at a time, finishing and dismissing the first 
before we go to the second, and the second before we 
go to the third, still, after all, a practice like this, though 
not open to the inconvenience which the confusing of one 
subject with another involves, is in matter of fact nothing 
short of the delivery of three sermons in succession with- 
out break between them. 

Summing up, then, what I have been saying, I observe 
that, if I have understood the doctrine of St. Charles, 
St. Francis, and other saints aright, defiititeness of object 
is in various ways the one virtue of the preacher ; — and 
this means that he should set out with the intention of 
conveying to others some spiritual benefit ; that, with 
a view to this, and as the only ordinary way to it, he 
should select some distinct fact or scene, some passage 
in history, some truth, simple or profound, some doctrine, 
some principle, or some sentiment, and should study it 
well and thoroughly, and first make it his own, or else 

University Preaching. 413 

have already dwelt on it and mastered it, so as to be 
able to use it for the occasion from an habitual under- 
standing of it ; and that then he should employ himself, 
as the one business of his discourse, to bring home to 
others, and to leave deep within them, what he has, be- 
fore he began to speak to them, brought home to himself. 
What he feels himself, and feels deeply, he has to make 
others feel deeply ; and in proportion as he comprehends 
this, he will rise above the temptation of introducing 
collateral matters, and will have no taste, no heart, for 
going aside after flowers of oratory, fine figures, tuneful 
periods, which are worth nothing, unless they come to 
him spontaneously, and are spoken " out of the abun- 
dance of the heart." Our Lord said on one occasion : 
" I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I 
but that it be kindled t " He had one work, and He 
accomplished it. " The words," He says, " which Thou 
gavest Me, I have given to them, and they have received 
them, . . . and now I come to Thee." And the 
Apostles, again, as they had received, so w^ere they to 
give. " That which tve have seen and have heard," says 
one of them, " we declare unto yon, that you may have 
fellowship with us." If, then, a preacher's subject only 
be some portion of the Divine message, however elemen- 
tary it may be, however trite, it will have a dignity such 
as to possess him, and a virtue to kindle him, and an in- 
fluence to subdue and convert those to whom it goes 
forth from him, according to the words of the promise, 
" My word, which shall go forth from My mouth, shall 
not return to Me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, 
and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it." 

2. And now having got as far as this, we shall see 

414 University Preaching. 

without difficulty what a University Sermon ought to be 
just so far as it is distinct from other sermons ; for, if all 
preaching is directed towards a hearer, such as is the 
hearer will be the preaching, and, as a University audi- 
tory differs from other auditories, so will a sermon 
addressed to it differ from other sermons. This, indeed, 
is a broad maxim which holy men lay down on the 
subject of preaching. Thus, St. Gregory Theologus, as 
quoted by the Pope his namesake, says : " The self-same 
exhortation is not suitable for all hearers ; for all have 
not the same disposition of mind, and what profits these 
is hurtful to those." The holy Pope himself throws the 
maxim into another form, still more precise : " Debet 
praedicator," he says, " perspicere, ne plus praedicet, 
quam ab audiente capi possit." And St. Charles ex- 
pounds it, referring to Pope St. Gregory : " Pro audien- 
tium genere locos doctrinarum, ex quibus concionem 
conficiat, non modo distinctos, sed optima expHcatos 
habebit. Atque in hoc quidem multiplici genere con- 
cionator videbit, ne quaecumque, ut S. Gregorius scite 
monet, legerit, aut scientia comprehenderit, omnia enun- 
ciet atque effundat ; sed delectum habebit, ita ut do- 
cumenta alia exponat, alia tacite relinquat, prout locus, 
ordo, conditioque auditorum deposcat." And, by way of 
obviating the chance of such a rule being considered a 
human artifice inconsistent with the simplicity of the 
Gospel, he had said shortly before : "Ad Dei gloriam, ad 
coelestis regni propagationem, et ad animarum salutem, 
plurimum interest, non solum quales sint prasdicatores, 
sed qua via, qua ratione praedicent." 

It is true, this is also one of the elementary principles 
of the Art of Rhetoric ; but it is no scandal that a 
saintly Bishop should in this matter borrow a maxim 
from secular, nay, from pagan schools. For divine grace 

University Preaching, 415 

does not overpower nor supersede the action of the human 
mind according to its proper nature ; and if heathen 
writers have analyzed that nature well, so far let them 
be used to the greater glory of the Author and Source 
of all Truth. Aristotle, then, in his celebrated treatise 
on Rhetoric, makes the very essence of the Art lie in the 
precise recognition of a hearer. It is a relative art, and in 
that respect differs from Logic, which simply teaches the 
right use of reason, whereas Rhetoric is the art of per- 
suasion, which implies a person who is to be persuaded. 
As, then, the Christian Preacher aims at the Divine 
Glory, not in any vague and general way, but definitely 
by the enunciation of some article or passage of the 
Revealed Word, so further, he enunciates it, not for the 
instruction of the whole world, but directly for the sake 
of those very persons who are before him. He is, when 
in the pulpit, instructing, enlightening, informing, ad- 
vancing, sanctifying, not all nations, nor all classes, nor 
all callings, but those particular ranks, professions, states, 
ages, characters, which have gathered around him. 
Proof indeed is the same all over the earth ; but he has 
not only to prove, but to persuade ; — Whom ? A hearer, 
then, is included in the very idea of preaching ; and we 
cannot determine how in detail we ought to preach, till 
we know whom we are to address. 

In all the most important respects, indeed, all hearers 
are the same, and what is suitable for one audience is 
suitable for another. All hearers are children of Adam, 
all, too, are children of the Christian adoption and of the 
Catholic Church. The great topics which suit the 
multitude, which attract the poor, which sway the un- 
learned, which warn, arrest, recall, the wayward and 
wandering, are in place within the precincts of a 
University as elsewhere. A Siudium Generale is not a 

4 1 '5 Ujiiversity Preachmg. 

cloister, or noviciate, or seminary, or boarding-school ; it 
is an assemblage of the young, the inexperienced, the 
lay and the secular ; and not even the simplest of 
religious truths, or the most elementary article of the 
Christian faith, can be unseasonable from its pulpit. A 
sermon on the Divine Omnipresence, on the future judg- 
ment, on the satisfaction of Christ, on the intercession of 
saints, will be not less, perhaps more, suitable there than 
if it were addressed to a parish congregation. Let no 
one suppose that any thing recondite is essential to the 
idea of a University sermon. The most obvious truths 
are often the most profitable. Seldom does an oppor- 
tunity occur for a subject there which might not under 
circumstances be treated before any other auditory what- 
ever. Nay, further; an academical auditory might be 
well content if it never heard any subject treated at all 
but what would be suitable to any general congregation. 
However, after all, a University has a character of its 
own ; it has some traits of human nature more promi- 
nently developed than others, and its members are brought 
together under circumstances which impart to the auditory 
a peculiar colour and expression, even where it does not 
substantially differ from another. It is composed of 
men, not women ; of the young rather than the old ; and 
of persons either highly educated or under education. 
These are the points which the preacher will bear in 
mind, and which will direct him both in his choice of 
subject, and in his mode of treating it. 


(i.) And first as to his matter or subject" Here I 

would remark upon the circumstance, that courses of 

sermons upon theological points, polemical discussions, 

treatises in cxtenso, and the like, are often included in 

University Preaching. 4x7 

the idea of a University Sermon, and are considered to 
be legitimately entitled to occupy the attention of a 
University audience ; the object of such compositions 
being, not directly and mainly the edification of the 
hearers, but the defence or advantage of Catholicism at 
large, and the gradual formation of a volume suitable 
for publication. Without absolutely discountenancing 
such important works, it is not necessary to say more of 
them than that they rather belong to the divinity school, 
and fall under the idea of Lectures, than have a claim 
to be viewed as University Sermons. Anyhow, I do 
not feel called upon to speak of such discourses here. 
And I say the same of panegyrical orations, discourses 
on special occasions, funeral sermons, and the like. 
Putting such exceptional compositions aside, I will con- 
fine myself to the consideration of what may be called 
Sermons proper. And here, I repeat, any general sub- 
ject will be seasonable in the University pulpit which 
would be seasonable elsewhere ; but, if we look for sub- 
jects especially suitable, they will be of two kinds. The 
temptations which ordinarily assail the young and the 
intellectual are two: those which are directed against 
their virtue, and those which are directed against their 
faith. All divine gifts are exposed to misuse and per- 
version ; youth and intellect are both of tjiem goods, 
and involve in them certain duties respectively, and can 
be used to the glory of the Giver; but, as youth becomes 
the occasion of excess and sensuality, so does intellect 
give accidental opportunity to religious error, rash specu- 
lation, doubt, and infidelity. That these are in fact the 
peculiar evils to which large Academical Bodies are 
liable is shown from the history of Universities ; and if 
a preacher would have a subject which has especial sig- 
nificancy in such a place, he must select one which bears 
7' 2"] 

4- 1 8 University Preaching, 

upon one or other of these two classes of sin. I mean, 
he would be treating on some such subject with the 
same sort of appositeness as he would discourse upon 
almsgiving when addressing the rich, or on patience, 
resignation, and industry, when he was addressing the 
poor, or on forgiveness of injuries when he was address- 
ing the oppressed or persecuted. 

To this suggestion I append two cautions. First, I 
need \ardly say, that a preacher should be quite sure 
that he understands the persons he is addressing before 
he ventures to aim at what he considers to be their ethical 
condition ; for, if he mistakes, he will probably be doing 
harm rather than good. I have known consequences 
to occur very far from edifying, when strangers have 
fancied they knew an auditory when they did not, and 
have by implication imputed to them habits or motives 
which were not theirs. Better far would it be for a 
preacher to select one of those more general subjects 
which are safe than risk what is evidently ambitious, if 
it is not successful. 

My other caution is this : — that, even when he ad- 
dresses himself to some special danger or probable defi- 
ciency or need of his hearers, he should do so covertly, 
not showing on the surface of his discourse what he is 
aiming at. I see no advantage in a preacher pro- 
fessing to treat of infidelity, orthodoxy, or virtue, or the 
pride of reason, or riot, or sensual indulgence. To say 
nothing else, common-places are but blunt weapons ; 
whereas it is particular topics that penetrate and reach 
their mark. Such subjects rather are, for instance, the 
improvement of time, avoiding the occasions of sin, 
frequenting the Sacraments, divine warnings, the inspi- 
rations of grace, the mysteries of the Rosary, natural 
virtue, beauty of the rites of the Church, consistency of 

University Preackitig. 4^9 

the Catholic faith, relation of Scripture to the Church, the 
philosophy of tradition, and any others, which may touch 
the heart and conscience, or may suggest trains of 
thought to the intellect, without proclaiming the main 
reason why they have been chosen. 

(2.) Next, as to the mode of treating its subject, which 
a U niversity discourse requires. It is this respect, after all, 
I think, in which it especially differs from other kinds of 
preaching. As translations differ from each other, as 
expressing the same ideas in different languages, so in 
the case of sermons, each may undertake the same sub- 
ject, yet treat it in its own way, as contemplating its 
own hearers. This is well exemplified in the speeches of 
St. Paul, as recorded in the book of Acts. To the Jews he 
quotes the Old Testament; on the Areopagus, addressing 
the philosophers of Athens, he insists, — not indeed upon 
any recondite doctrine, contrariwise, upon the most ele- 
mentary, the being and unity of God ; — but he treats it with 
a learning and depth of thought, which the presence of that 
celebrated city naturally suggested. And in like manner, 
while the most simple subjects are apposite in a Univer- 
sity pulpit, they certainly would there require a treatment 
more exact than is necessary in merely popular exhorta- 
tions. It is not asking much to demand for academical 
discourses a more careful study beforehand, a more 
accurate conception of the idea which they are to enforce, 
a more cautious use of words, a more anxious consulta- 
tion of writers of authority, and somewhat more of 
philosophical and theological knowledge. 

But here again, as before, I would insist on the neces- 
sity of such compositions being unpretending. It is not 
necessary for a preacher to quote the Holy Fathers, or 
to show erudition, or to construct an original argument, 
or to be ambitious in style and profuse of ornament, on 

420 University Preaching. 

the ground that the audience is a University : it is only 
necessary so to keep the character and necessities of his 
hearers before him as to avoid what may offend them, 
or mislead, or disappoint, or fail to profit. 


3, But here a distinct question opens upon us, on which 
I must say a few words in conclusion, viz., whether or not 
the preacher should preach without book. 

This is a delicate question to enter upon, considering 
that the Irish practice of preaching without book, which 
is in accordance with that of foreign countries, and, as it 
would appear, with the tradition of the Church from the 
first, is not universally adopted in England, nor, as I 
believe, in Scotland ; and it might seem unreasonable 
or presumptuous to abridge a liberty at present granted 
to the preacher. I will simply set down what occurs to 
me to say on each side of the question. 

First of all, looking at the matter on the side of usage, 
I have always understood that it was the rule in Catholic 
countries, as I have just said, both in this and in former 
times, to preach without book ; and, if the rule be really 
.so, it carries extreme weight with it. I do not speak as 
if I had consulted a library, and made my ground sure ; 
but at first sight it would appear impossible, even from 
the number of homilies and commentaries which are 
assigned to certain Fathers, as to St. Augustine or to St. 
Chrysostom, that they could have delivered them from 
formally-written compositions. On the other hand, St- 
Leo's sermons certainly are, in the strict sense of the word, 
compositions; nay, passages of them are carefully dog- 
matic; nay,furtherstill,they have sometimes the character 
of a symbol, and, in consequence, are found repeated in 
other parts of his works ; and agrain, though I do not 

Un iversity Preach ing. 4 2 1 

profess to be well read in the works of St. Chrysostom, 
there is generally in such portions of them as are known 
to those of us who are in Holy Orders, a peculiarity, an 
identity of style, which enables one to recognize the 
author at a glance, even in the latin version of the Bre- 
viary, and which would seem to be quite beyond the mere 
fidelity of reporters. It would seem, then, he must after 
all have written them ; and if he did write at all, it is 
more likely that he wrote with the stimulus of preaching 
before him, than that he had time and inducement to 
correct and enlarge them afterwards from notes, for what 
is now called "publication," which at that time could 
hardly be said to exist at all. To this consideration we 
must add the remarkable fact (which, though in classical 
history, throws light upon our inquiry) that, not to pro- 
duce other instances, the greater part of Cicero's power- 
ful and brilliant orations against Verres were never 
delivered at all. Nor must it be forgotten that Cicero 
specifies memory in his enumeration of the distinct talents 
necessary for a great orator. And then we have in corro- 
boration the French practice of writing sermons and 
learning them by heart. 

These remarks, as far as they go, lead us to lay great 
stress on the preparation of a sermon, as amounting in 
fact to composition, even in writing, and in extenso. Now 
consider St. Carlo's direction, as quoted above : " Id 
omnino studebit, ut quod in concione dicturus est, antea 
bene cognitum habeat." Now a parish priest has neither 
time nor occasion for any but elementary and ordinary 
topics ; and any such subject he has habitually made 
his own, "cognitum habet," already; but when the 
matter is of a more select and occasional character, as 
in the case of a University Sermon, then the preacher 
has to study it well and thoroughly, and master it before- 

42 2 University Preachmg. 

hand. Study and meditation being imperative, can il 
be denied that one of the most effectual means by which 
we are able to ascertain our understanding of a subject, 
to bring out our thoughts upon it, to clear our meaning, 
to enlarge our views of its relations to other subjects, 
and to develop it generally, is to write down carefully 
all we have to say about it ? People indeed differ in 
matters of this kind, but I think that writing is a stimu- 
lus to the mental faculties, to the logical talent, to 
originality, to the power of illustration, to the arrange- 
ment of topics, second to none. Till a man begins to 
put down his thoughts about a subject on paper he will 
not ascertain what he knows and what he does not 
know ; and still less will he be able to express what he 
does know. Such a formal preparation of course cannot 
be required of a parish priest, burdened, as he may be, 
with other duties, and preaching on elementary subjects, 
and supported by the systematic order and the sugges- 
tions of the Catechism; but in occasional sermons the 
case is otherwise. In these it is both possible and gene- 
rally necessary ; and the fuller the sketch, and the more 
clear and continuous the thread of the discourse, the more 
the preacher wall find himself at home when the time of 
delivery arrives. I have said " generally necessary," for 
of course there will be exceptional cases, in which such 
a mode of preparation does not answer, whether from 
some mistake in carrying it out, or from some special 
gift superseding it. 

To many preachers there will be another advantage 
besides; — such a practice will secure them against ven- 
turing upon really extempore matter. The more ardent 
a man is, and the greater power he has of affecting his 
hearers, so much the more will he need self-control and 
sustained recollection, and feel the advantage of com- 

University Preaching. 423 

mitting himself, as it were, to the custody of his previous 
intentions, instead of yielding to any chance current of 
thought which rushes upon him in the midst of his 
preaching. His very gifts may need the counterpoise 
of more ordinary and homely accessories, such as the 
drudgery of composition. 

It must be borne in mind too, that, since a University 
Sermon will commonly have more pains than ordinary 
bestowed on it, it will be considered in the number of 
those which the author would especially wish to preserve. 
Some record of it then will be natural, or even is involved 
in its composition ; and, while the least elaborate will be 
as much as a sketch or abstract, even the most minute, 
exact, and copious assemblage of notes will not be found 
too long hereafter, supposing, as time goes on, any reason 
occurs for wishing to commit it to the press. 

Here are various reasons, which are likely to lead, or 
to oblige, a preacher to have recourse to his pen in pre- 
paration for his special office. A further reason might 
be suggested, which would be more intimate than any 
we have given, going indeed so far as to justify the in- 
troduction of a manuscript into the pulpit itself, if the 
case supposed fell for certain under the idea of a Uni- 
versity Sermon. It may be urged with great cogency 
that a process of argument, or a logical analysis and in- 
vestigation, cannot at all be conducted with suitable 
accuracy of wording, completeness of statement, or suc- 
cession of ideas, if the composition is to be prompted at 
the moment, and breathed out, as it were, from the 
intellect together with the very words which are its 
vehicle. There are indeed a few persons in a generation, 
such as Pitt, who are able to converse like a book, and 
to speak a pamphlet; but others must be content to write 
and to read their writing. This is true ; but I have 

4-4 University Preaching. 

already found reason to question whether such deHcate 
and complicated organizations of thought have a right 
to the name of Sermons at all. In truth, a discourse, 
which, from its fineness and precision of ideas, is too 
difficult for a preacher to deliver without such extraneous 
assistance, is too difficult for a hearer to follow ; and, if 
a book be imperative for teaching, it is imperative for 
learning. Both parties ought to read, if they are to be 
on equal terms ; — and this remark furnishes me with a 
principle which has an application wider than the par- 
ticular case which has suggested it. 

While, then, a preacher will find it becoming and advis- 
able to put into writing any important discourse before- 
hand, he will find it equally a point of propriety and 
expedience not to read it in the pulpit. I am not of 
course denying his right to use a manuscript, if he wishes ; 
but he will do well to conceal it, as far as he can, unless, 
which is the most effectual concealment, whatever be its 
counterbalancing disadvantages, he prefers, mainly not 
verbally, to get it by heart. To conceal it, indeed, in one 
way or other, will be his natural impulse ; and this very 
circumstance seems to show us that to read a sermon needs 
an apology. For, why should he commit it to memory, or 
conceal his use of it, unless he felt that it was more natural, 
more decorous, to do without it? And so again, if he em- 
ploys a manuscript, the more he appears to dispense with 
it, the more he looks off from it, and directly addresses his 
audience, the more will he be considered to preach; and, 
on the other hand, the more will he be judged to come 
short of preaching the more sedulous he is in following 
his manuscript line i.fter line, and by the tone of his 
voice makes it clear that he has got it safely before him. 
What is this but a popular testimony to the fact that 
preaching is not reading, and reading is not preaching } 

University Preaching. 425 

There is, as I have said, a principle involved in this 
decision. It is a common answer made by the Protestant 
poor to their clergy or other superiors, when asked why 
they do not go to church, that "they can read their book 
at home quite as well." It is quite true, they can read 
their book at home, and it is difficult what to rejoin, and 
it is a problem, which has employed before now the more 
thoughtful of their communion, to make out what is got 
by going to public service. The prayers are from a 
printed book, the sermon is from a manuscript. The 
printed prayers they have already ; and, as to the manu- 
script sermon, why should it be in any respects better 
than the volume of sermons which they have at home ? 
Why should not an approved author be as good as one 
who has not yet submitted himself to criticism? And 
again, if it is to be read in the church, why may not one 
person read it quite as well as another.? Good advice is 
good advice, all the world over. There is something 
more, then, than composition in a sermon ; there is 
something personal in preaching ; people are drawn and 
moved, not simply by what is said, but by how it is said, 
and who says it. The same things said by one man are not 
the same as when said by another. The same things when 
read are not the same as when they are preached. 


In this respect the preacher differs from the minister 
of the sacraments, that he comes to his hearers, in some 
sense or other, with antecedents. Clad in his sacerdotal 
vestm.ents, he sinks what is individual in himself alto- 
gether, and is but the representative of Him from whom 
he derives his commission. His words, his tones, his 
actions, his presence, lose their personality ; one bishop, 
one priest, is like another ; they all chant the same notes, 

426 University Preaching 

and observe the same genuflexions, as they give one 
peace and one b'essing, as they offer one and the 
same sacrifice. The Mass must not be said without a 
Missal under the priest's eye ; nor in any language but 
that in which it has come down to us from the early 
hierarchs of the Western Church. But, when it is over, 
and the celebrant has resigned the vestments proper to 
it, then he resumes himself, and comes to us in the gifts 
and associations which attach to his person. He knows 
his sheep, and they know him ; and it is this direct bear- 
ing of the teacher on the taught, of his mind upon their 
minds, and the mutual sympathy which exists between 
them, which is his strength and influence when he ad- 
dresses them. They hang upon his lips as they cannot 
hang upon the pages of his book. Definiteness is the 
life of preaching. A definite hearer, not the whole 
world ; a definite topic, not the whole evangelical tradi- 
tion ; and, in like manner, a definite speaker. Nothing 
that is anonymous will preach ; nothing that is dead and 
gone ; nothing even which is of yesterday, however 
religious in itself and useful. Thought and word are 
one in the Eternal Logos, and must not be separate in 
those who are His shadows on earth. They must issue 
fresh and fresh, as from the preacher's mouth, so from 
his breast, if they are to be " spirit and life" to the hearts 
of his hearers. And what is true of a parish priest ap- 
plies, mutatis mutandis, to a University preacher ; who, 
even more, perhaps, than the ordinary parochus, comes to 
his audience with a name and a history, and excites a 
personal interest, and persuades by what he is, as well as 
by what he delivers. 

I am far from forgetting that every one has his own 
talent, and that one has not what another has. Elo- 
quence is a divine gift, which to a certain point super- 

University Preaching. 427 

sedes rules, and is to be used, like other gifts, to the glory 
of the Giver, and then only to be discountenanced when 
it forgets its place, when it throws into the shade and em- 
barrasses the essential functions of the Christian preacher, 
and claims to be cultivated for its own sake instead of 
being made subordinate and subservient to a higher work 
and to sacred objects. And how to make eloquence sub- 
servient to the evangelical office is not more difficult 
than how to use learning or intellect for a supernatural 
end ; but it does not come into consideration here. 

In the case of particular preachers, circumstances may 
constantly arise which render the use of a manuscript the 
more advisable course ; but I have been considering 
how the case stands in itself, and attempting to set down 
what is to be aimed at as best. If religious men once 
ascertain what is abstractedly desirable, and acquiesce 
in it with their hearts, they will be in the way to get over 
many difficulties which otherwise will be insurmountable. 
F'or myself, I think it no extravagance to say that a 
very inferior sermon, delivered without book, answers 
the purposes for which all sermons are delivered more 
perfectly than one of great merit, if it be written and 
read. Of course, all men will not speak without book 
equally well, just as their voices are not equally clear 
and loud, or their manner equally impressive. Elo- 
quence, I repeat, is a gift ; but most men, unless they 
have passed the age for learning, may with practice 
attain such fluency in expressing their thoughts as will 
enable them to convey and manifest to their audience 
that earnestness and devotion to their object, which is the 
life of preaching, — which both covers, in the preacher's 
own consciousness, the sense of his own deficiencies, and 
makes up for them over and over again in the judgment 
of his hearers. 





NOW that we have just commenced our second 
Academical Year, it is natural, Gentlemen, that, 
as in November last, when we were entering upon our 
great undertaking, I offered to you some remarks sug- 
gested by the occasion, so now again I should not suffer 
the first weeks of the Session to pass away without 
addressing to you a few words on one of those subjects 
which are at the moment especially interesting to us. 
And when I apply myself to think what topic I shall in 
consequence submit to your consideration, I seem to be 
directed what to select by the principle of selection which 
I followed on that former occasion to which I have 
been referring. Then * we were opening the Schools of 
Philosophy and Letters, as now we are opening those 
of Medicine ; and, as I then attempted some brief in- 
vestigation of the mutual bearings of Revelation and 
Literature, so at the present time I shall not, I trust, be 
unprofitably engaging your attention, if I make one or 
two parallel reflections on the relations existing between 
Revelation and Physical Science. 

This subject, indeed, viewed in its just dimensions, is 
far too large for an occasion such as this ; still I may be 
* Vid. Article L 

Christianity and Physical Science. 429 

able to select some one point out of the many which it 
ofifers for discussion, and, while elucidating it, to throw 
light even on others which at the moment I do not 
formally undertake. I propose, then, to discuss the an- 
tagonism which is popularly supposed to exist between 
Physics and Theology ; and to show, first, that such 
antagonism does not really exist, and, next, to account 
for the circumstance that so groundless an imagination 
should have got abroad. 

I think I am not mistaken in the fact that there exists, 
both in the educated and half-educated portions of the 
community, something of a surmise or misgiving, that 
there really is at bottom a certain contrariety between 
the declarations of religion and the results of physical 
inquiry ; a suspicion such, that, while it encourages those 
persons who are not over-religious to anticipate a coming 
day, when at length the difference will break out into 
open conflict, to the disadvantage of Revelation, it leads 
religious minds, on the other hand, who have not had 
the opportunity of considering accurately the state of the 
case, to be jealous of the researches, and prejudiced 
against the discoveries, of Science. The consequence is, 
on the one side, a certain contempt of Theology; on the 
olher, a disposition to undervalue, to deny, to ridicule, 
to discourage, and almost to denounce, the labours of the 
physiological, astronomical, or geological investigator. 

I do not suppose that any of those gentlemen who are 
now honouring me with their presence are exposed to 
the temptation either of the religious or of the scientific 
prejudice ; but that is no reason why some notice of it 
may not have its use even in this place. It may lead us 
to consider the subject itself more carefully and exactly; 
it may assist us in attaining clearer ideas than before 
how Physics and Theology stand relatively to each other. 

430 Christianity and Physical Science. 

Let us begin with a first approximation to the real 
state of the case, or a broad view, which, though it may 
require corrections, will serve at once to illustrate and to 
start the subject. We may divide knowledge, then, into 
natural and supernatural. Some knowledge, of course, 
is both at once ; for the moment let us put this circum- 
stance aside, and view these two fields of knowledge in 
themselves, and as distinct from each other in idea. By 
nature is meant, I suppose, that vast system of things, 
taken as a whole, of which we are cognizant by means of 
our natural powers. By the supernatural world is meant 
that still more marvellous and awful universe, of which 
the Creator Himself is the fulness, and which becomes 
known to us, not through our natural faculties, but by 
superadded and direct communication from Him. These 
two great circles of knowledge, as I have said, intersect ; 
first, as far as supernatural knowledge includes truths 
and facts of the natural world, and secondly, as far as 
truths and facts of the natural world are on the other 
hand data for inferences about the supernatural. Still, 
allowing this interference to the full, it will be found, 
on the whole, that the two worlds and the two kinds 
of knowledge respectively are separated off from each 
other ; and that, therefore, as being separate, they can- 
not on the whole contradict each other. That is, in 
other words, a person who has the fullest knowledge of 
one of these worlds, may be nevertheless, on the whole, 
as ignorant as the rest of mankind, as unequal to form a 
judgment, of the facts and truths of the other. He who 
knows all that can possibly be known about physics, 
about politics, about geography, ethnology, and ethics, 
will have made no approximation whatever to decide 

Christianity and Physical Science. 431 

the question whether or not there are angels, and how 
many are their orders ; and on the other hand, the most 
learned of dogmatic and mystical divines, — St. Augustine, 
St. Thomas, — will not on that score know more than a 
peasant about the laws of motion, or the wealth of nations. 
I do not mean that there may not be speculations and 
guesses on this side and that, but I speak of any conclu- 
sion which merits to be called, I will not say knowledge, 
but even opinion. If, then, Theology be the philosophy 
of the supernatural world, and Science the philosophy of 
the natural, Theology and Science, whether in their re- 
spective ideas, or again in their own actual fields, on the 
whole, are incommunicable, incapable of collision, and 
needing, at most to be connected, never to be reconciled. 

Now this broad general view of our subject is found to 
be so far true in fact, in spite of such deductions from 
it that have to be made in detail, that the recent French 
editors of one of the works of St. Thomas are able to 
give it as one of their reasons why that great theologian 
made an alliance, not with Plato, but with Aristotle, 
because Aristotle (they say), unlike Plato, confined him- 
self to human science, and therefore was secured from 
coming into collision with divine. 

"Not without reason," they say, "did St. Thomas 
acknowledge Aristotle as if the Master of human philo- 
sophy ; for, inasmuch as Aristotle was not a Theologian, 
he had only treated of logical, physical, psychological, 
and metaphysical theses, to the exclusion of tliose which 
are concerned about the supernatural relations of man to 
God, that is, religion ; which, on the other hand, had 
been the source of the worst errors of other philosophers, 
and especially of Plato." 

432 Chrisiiamty and Physical Scie7ice^ 


But if there be so substantial a truth even in this 
very broad statement concerning the independence of the 
fields of Theology and general Science severally, and the 
consequent impossibility of collision between them, how 
much more true is that statement, from the very nature 
of the case, when we contrast Theology, not with Science 
generally, but definitely with Physics ! In Physics is 
comprised that family of sciences which is concerned 
with the sensible world, with the phenomena which we 
see, hear, and handle, or, in other words, with matter. It 
is the philosophy of matter. Its basis of operations, 
what it starts from, what it falls back upon, is the phe- 
nomena which meet the senses. Those phenomena it 
ascertains, catalogues, compares, combines, arranges, and 
then uses for determining something beyond themselves, 
viz., the order to which they are subservient, or what we 
commonly call the laws of nature. It never travels be- 
yond the examination of cause and effect. Its object is 
to resolve the complexity of phenomena into simple ele- 
ments and principles; but when it has reached those first 
elements, principles, and laws, its mission is at an end ; 
it keeps within that material system with which it began, 
and never ventures beyond the " flammantia moenia 
mundi." It may, indeed, if it chooses, feel a doubt of 
the completeness of its analysis hitherto, and for that 
reason endeavour to arrive at more simple laws and fewer 
principles. It may be dissatisfied with its own combina- 
tions,hypotheses, systems; and leave Ptolemy for Newton, 
the alchemists for Lavoisier and Davy ; — that is, it may 
decide that it has not yet touched the bottom of its own 
subject ; but still its aim will be to get to the bottom, 
and nothing more. With matter it began, with matter it 

Christianity and Physical Science, 433 

will end ; it will never trespass into the province of mind. 
The Hindoo notion is said to be that the earth stands 
upon a tortoise ; but the physicist, as such, will never 
ask himself by what influence, external to the universe, 
the universe is sustained ; simply because he is a physicist. 
If indeed he be a religious man, he will of course have 
a very definite view of the subject ; but that view of his 
is private, not professional, — the view, not of a physicist, 
but of a religious man ; and this, not because physical 
science says any thing different, but simply because it 
says nothing at ail on the subject, nor can do so by the 
very undertaking with which it set out. The question 
is simply extra artem. The physical philosopher has 
nothing whatever to do with final causes, and will get 
into inextricable confusion, if he introduces them into his 
investigations. He has to look in one definite direction, 
not in any other. It is said that in some countries, when 
a stranger asks his way, he is at once questioned in turn 
what place he came from : something like this would be 
the unseasonableness of a physicist, who inquired how the 
phenomena and laws of the material world primarily 
came to be, when his simple task is that of ascertaining 
what they are. Within the limits of those phenomena 
he ir.ay speculate and prove ; he may trace the operation 
of the laws of matter through periods of time ; he may 
penetrate into the past, and anticipate the future ; he 
may recount the changes which they have effected upon 
matter, and the rise, growth, and decay of phenomena ; 
and so in a certain sense he may write the history ov 
the material world, as far as he can ; still he will always 
aiivancefrom phenomena, and conclude upon the interna.' 
evidence whicli they supply. He will not come near the 
questions, what that ultimate element is, which we call 
matter, how it canie to be, whether it can cease to be, 


434 Christianity and Physical Science. 

whether it ever was not, whether it will ever come to 
nought, in what its laws really consist, whether they can 
cease to be, whether they can be suspended, what causa- 
tion is, what time is, what the relations of time to cause 
and effect, and a hundred other questions of a similar 

Such is Physical Science, and Theology, as is obvious, 
is just what such Science is not. Theology begins, as its 
name denotes, not with any sensible facts, phenomena, 
or results, not with nature at all, but with the Author of 
nature, — with the one invisible, unapproachable Cause 
and Source of all things. It begins at the other end of 
knowledge, and is occupied, not with the finite, but the 
Infinite. It unfolds and systematizes what He Himself 
has told us of Himself; of His nature. His attributes, 
His will, and His acts. As far as it approaches towards 
Physics, it takes just the counterpart of the questions 
which occupy the Physical Philosopher. He contem- 
plates facts before him ; the Theologian gives the reasons 
of those facts. The Physicist treats of efificient causes ; 
the Theologian of final. The Physicist tells us of laws ; 
the Theologian of the Author, Maintainer, and Controller 
of them ; of their scope, of their suspension, if so be ; of 
their beginning and their end. This is how the two 
schools stand related to each other, at that point where 
they approach the nearest ; but for the most part they 
are absolutely divergent. What Physical Science is en- 
gaged in I have already said ; as to Theology, it con- 
templates the world, not of matter, but of mind ; the 
Supreme Intelligence; souls and their destiny; conscience 
and duty ; the past, present, and future dealings of tlie 
Creator with the creature. 

Christianity and Physical Science. 435 


So far, then, as these remarks have gone, Theolog)'' and 
Physics cannot touch each other, have no intercommunion, 
have no ground of difference or agreement, of jealousy or 
of sympathy. As well may musical truths be said to 
interfere with the doctrines of architectural science ; as 
well may there be a collision between the mechanist and 
the geologist, the engineer and the grammarian ; as well 
mieht the British Parliament or the French nation be 


jealous of some possible belligerent power upon the sur- 
face of the moon, as Physics pick a quarrel with Theology. 
And it may be well, — before I proceed to fill up in dc- ail 
this outline, and to explain what has to be explained in 
this statement, — to corroborate it, as it stands, by the 
remarkable words upon the subject of a writer of the 
day :* — 

"We often hear it said," he observes, writing as a Pro- 
testant- (and here let me assure you, Gentlemen, that 
though his words have a controversial tone with them, I 
do not quote them in that aspect, or as wishing here to 
urge any thing against Protestants, but merely in pur- 
suance of my own point, that Revelation and Physical 
Science cannot really come into collision), "we often hear 
it said that the world is constantly becoming more and 
more enlightened, and that this enlightenment must be 
favourable to Protestantism, and unfavourable to Catho- 
licism. We wish that we could think so. But we see 
great reason to doubt whether this is a well-founded ex- 
pectation. We see that during the last two hundred and 
fifty years the human mind has been in the highest degree 
active ; that it has made great advances in every branch 
of natural philosophy ; that it has produced innumerable 

* Macauby's Essays. 

436 CJiristiaiiity aiid Physical Science. 

inventions tending to promote the convenience of life ; 
that medicine, surgery, chemistry, engineering, have been 
very greatly improved, that government, police, and law 
have been improved, though not to so great an extent as 
the physical sciences. Yet we see that, during these two 
hundred and fifty years. Protestantism has made no con- 
quests worth speaking of. Nay, we believe that, as far 
as there has been change, that change has, on the whole, 
been in favour of the Church of Rome. We cannot, 
therefore, feel confident that the progress of knowledge 
will necessarily be fatal to a system which has, to say the 
least, stood its ground in spite of the immense progress 
made by the human race in knowledge since the days of 
Queen Elizabeth. 

" Indeed, the argument which we are considering 
seems to us to be founded on an entire mistake. There 
are branches of knowledge with respect to which the law 
of the human mind is progress. In mathematics, when 
once a proposition has been demonstrated, it is never 
afterwards contested. Every fresh story is as solid a 
basis for a new superstructure as the original foundation 
was. Here, therefore, there is a constant addition to 
the stock of truth. In the inductive sciences, again, the 
law is progress. . . 

" But with theology the case is very different. As 
respects natural religion (Revelation being for the pre- 
sent altogether left out of the question), it is not easy to 
see that a philosopher of the present day is more favour- 
ably situated than Thales or Simonidcs. He has before 
him just the same evidences of design in the structure of 
the universe which the early Greeks had. . . As to the 
other great question, the question what becomes of man 
after death, we do not see that a highly educated Euro- 
pean, left to his unassisted reason, is more likely to be 

Christianity and Physical Science. 437 

in the right than a Blackfoot Indian. Not a single one 
of the many sciences, in which we surpass the Blackfoot 
Indians, throws the smallest light on the state of the soul 
after the animal life is extinct. . . 

" Natural Theology, then, is not a progressive science. 
That knowledge of our origin and of our destiny which 
we derive from Revelation is indeed of very different 
clearness, and of very different importance. But neither 
is Revealed Religion of the nature of a progressive 
science. . , In divinity there cannot be a progress ana- 
logous to that which is constantly taking place in phar- 
macy, geology, and navigation. A Christian of the fifth 
century witli a Bible is neither better nor worse situated 
than a Christian of the nineteenth century with a Bible, 
candour and natural acuteness being of course supposed 
equal. It matters not at all that the compass, printing, 
gunpowder, steam, gas, vaccination, and a thousand other 
discoveries and inventions, which were unknown in the 
fifth century, are familiar to the nineteenth. None of 
these discoveries and inventions has the smallest bear- 
ing on the question whether man is justified by faith 
alone, or whether the invocation of saints is an orthodox 
practice. . . We are confident that the world will never 
go back to the solar system of Ptolemy ; nor is our con- 
fidence in the least shaken by the circumstance that so 
great a man as Bacon rejected the theory of Galileo 
with scorn ; for Bacon had not all the means of arrivinjj 
at a sound conclusion. . . But when we reflect that Sil 
Thomas More was ready to die for the doctrine of 
Transubstantiation, we cannot but feel some doubt 
whether the doctrine of Transubstantiation may not 
triumph over all opposition. More was a man of emi- 
nent talents. He had all the information on the sub- 
ject that we have, or that, while the world lasts, any 

43^ Christianity and Physical Science. 

human being zvill have. . . No progress thai science has 
made, or will make, can add to what seems to us the 
overwhelming force of the argument against the Real 
Presence. We are therefore unable to understand why 
what Sir Thomas More believed respecting Transubstan- 
tiation may not be believed to the end of time by men 
equal in abilities and honesty to Sir Thomas More. But 
Sir Thomas More is one of the choice specimens of 
human wisdom and virtue ; and the doctrine of Tran- 
substantiation is a kind of proof charge. The faith 
which stands that test will stand any test. . . 

"The history of Catholicism strikingly illustrates these 
observations. During the last seven centuries the public 
mind of Europe has made constant progress in every 
department of secular knowledge ; but in religion we 
can trace no constant progress. . . Four times since 
the authority of the Church of Rome was established in 
Western Christendom has the human intellect risen up 
against her yoke. Twice that Church remained com- 
pletely victorious. Twice she came forth from the con- 
flict bearing the marks of cruel wounds, but with the 
principle of life still strong within her. When we reflect 
on the tremendous assaults she has survived, we find it 
difficult to conceive in what way she is to perish." 

You see, Gentlemen, if you trust the judgment of a 
sagacious mind, deeply read in history, Catholic Theo- 
logy has nothing to fear from the progress of Physical 
Science, even independently of the divinity of its doc- 
trines. It speaks of things supernatural ; and these, by 
the very force of the words, research into nature cannot 


It is true that the author in question, while saying all 

Chridianily and Physical Science. 439 

this, and much more to the same purpose, also makes 
mention of one exception to his general statement, 
though he mentions it in order to put it aside. I, too, 
have to notice the same exception here ; and you will 
see at once, Gentlemen, as soon as it is named, how little 
it interferes really with the broad view which I have 
been drawing out. It is true, then, that Revelation has 
in one or two instances advanct^d beyond its chosen 
territory, wh'ch is the invisible world, in order to throw 
light upon the history of the material universe. Holy 
Scripture, it is perfectly true, does declare a few mo- 
mentous facts, so few that they may be counted, of a 
physical character. It speaks of a process of formation 
out of chaos which occupied six days ; it speaks of the 
firmament ; of the sun and moon being created for the 
sake of the earth ; of the earth being immovable ; of a 
great deluge ; and of several other similar facts and 
events. It is true ; nor is there any reason why we 
should anticipate any difficulty in accepting these state- 
ments as they stand, whenever their meaning and drift 
are authoritatively determined ; for, it must be recol- 
lected, their meaning has not yet engaged the formal 
attention of the Church, or received any interpretation 
which, as Catholics, we are bound to accept, and in 
the absence of such definite interpretation, there is per- 
haps some presumption in saying that it means this, and 
does not mean that. And this being the case, it is not 
at all probable that any discoveries ever should be made 
by physical inquiries incompatible at the same time 
with one and all of those senses which the letter admits, 
and which are still open. As to certain popular interpre- 
tations of the texts in question, I shall have something 
to say of them presently; here I am only concerned 
with the letter of the Holy Scriptures itself, as far as it 

440 Christianity and Physical Science. 

bears upon the history of the heavens and the earth ; and 
I say that we may wait in peace and tranquillity till 
there is some real colHsion between Scripture authorita- 
tively interpreted, and results of science clearly ascer- 
tained, before we consider how we are to deal with a 
difficulty which we have reasonable grounds for think- 
ing will never really occur. 

And, after noticing this exception, I really have made 
the utmost admission that has to be made about the 
existence of any common ground upon which Theology 
and Physical Science may fight a battle. On the whole, 
the two studies do most surely occupy distinct fields, in 
which each may teach without expecting any inter- 
position from the other. It might indeed have pleased 
the Almighty to have superseded physical inquiry by 
revealing the truths which are its object, though He has 
not done so : but whether it had pleased Him to do so 
or not, anyhow Theology and Physics would be distinct 
sciences ; and nothing which the one says of the ma- 
terial world ever can contradict what the other says of 
the immaterial. Here, then, is the end of the question ; 
and here I might come to an end also, were it not in- 
cumbent on me to explain how it is that, though Theo- 
logy and Physics cannot quarrel, nevertheless, Physical 
Philosophers and Theologians have quarrelled in fact, 
and quarrel still. To the solution of this difficulty I 
shall devote the remainder of my Lecture. 


I observe, then, that the elementary methods of reason- 
ing and inquiring used in Theology and Physics are 
contrary the one to the other ; each of them has a 
method of its own ; and in this, I think, has lain the 
point of controversy between the two schools, viz., that 

Ch istianity and Physical Science. 44 1 

neither of them has been quite content to remain on its 
own homestead, but that, whereas each has its own 
method, which is the best for its own science, each has 
considered it the best for all purposes whatever, and has 
at different times thought to impose it upon the other 
science, to the disparagement or rejection of that opposite 
method which legitimately belongs to it. 

The argumentative method of Theology is that of 
a strict science, such as Geometry, or deductive ; the 
method of Physics, at least on starting, is that of an 
empirical pursuit, or inductive. This peculiarity on either 
side arises from the nature of the case. In Physics a 
vast and omnigenous mass of information lies before the 
inquirer, all in a confused litter, and needing arrangement 
and analysis. In Theology such varied phenomena are 
wanting, and Revelation presents itself instead. What is 
known in Christianity is just that which is revealed, and 
nothing more; certain truths, communicated directly from 
above, are committed to the keeping of the faithful, and 
to the very last nothing can really be added to those 
truths. From the time of the Apostles to the end of 
the world no strictly new truth can be added to the theo- 
logical information which the Apostles were inspired to 
deliver. It is possible of course to make numberless de- 
ductions from the original doctrines ; but, as the conclu- 
sion is ever in its premisses, such deductions are not, 
strictly speaking, an addition; and, though experience 
may variously guide and modify those deductions, still, 
on the whole. Theology retains the severe character of 
a science, advancing syllogistically from premisses to 

The method of Physics is just the reverse of this : it 
has hardly any principles or truths to start with, exter- 
nally delivered and already ascertained. It has to com- 

442 Christianity and Physical Science. 

mence with sight and touch ; it has to handle, weigh, 
and measure its own exuberant sylva of phenomena, and 
from these to advance to new truths, — truths, that is, 
which are beyond and distinct from the phenomena from 
which they originate. Thus Physical Science is experi- 
mental, Theology traditional ; Physical Science is the 
richer, Theology the more exact ; Physics the bolder. 
Theology the surer ; Physics progressive. Theology, in 
comparison, stationary ; Theology is loyal to the past. 
Physics has visions of the future. Such they are, I repeat, 
and such their respective methods of inquiry, from the 
nature of the case. 

But minds habituated to either of these two methods 
can hardly help extending it beyond its due limits, 
unless they are put upon their guard, and have great 
command of themselves. It cannot be denied that 
divines have from time to time been much inclined to 
give a traditional, logical shape to sciences which do not 
admit of any such treatment. Nor can it be denied, on the 
other hand, that men of science often show a special 
irritation at theologians forgoing by antiquity, precedent, 
authority, and logic, and for declining to introduce 
Bacon or Niebuhr into their own school, or to apply 
some new experimental and critical process for the 
improvement of that which has been given once for all 
from above. Hence the mutual jealousy of the two 
parties ; and I shall now attempt to give instances of it. 

First, then, let me refer to those interpretations of 
Scripture, popular and of long standing, though not 
authoritative, to which I have already had occasion to 
allude. Scripture, we know, is to be interpreted accord- 
ing to the unanimous consent of the Fathers ; but. 

CJiri tinyiity and Phyi,ical Science. 443 

besides this consent, which is of authority, carrying with 
it the evidence of its truth, there have ever been in 
Christendom a number of tioatin j opinions, more or less 
appended to the divine tradition ; opinions which have a 
certain probabiUty of being more than human, or of having 
a basis or admixture of truth, but which admit of no test, 
whence they came, or how far they are true, besides the 
course of events, and which meanwhile are to be received 
at least with attention and deference. Sometimes they 
are comments on Scripture prophecy, sometimes on other 
obscurities or mysteries. It was once an opinion, for 
instance, drawn from the sacred text, that the Chris- 
tain Dispensation was to last a thousand years, and no 
more ; the event disproved it. A still more exact and 
plausible tradition, derived from Scripture, was that 
which asserted that, when the Roman Empire should 
fall to pieces, Antichrist should appear, who should be 
followed at once by the Second Coming. Various Fathers 
thus interpret St. Paul, and Bellarmine receives the inter- 
pretation as late as the sixteenth century. The event 
alone can decide if, under any aspect of Christian history, 
it is true ; but at present we are at least able to say that 
it is not true in that broad plain sense in which it was 
once received. 

Passing from comments on prophetical passages of 
Scripture to those on cosmological, it was, I suppose, the 
common belief of ages, sustained by received interpreta- 
tions of the sacred text, that the earth was immovable. 
Hence, I suppose, it was that the Irish Bishop who as- 
serted the existence of the Antipodes alarmed his con- 
temporaries ; though it is well to observe that, even in 
the dark age in which he lived, the Holy See, to which 
reference was made, did not commit itself to any condem- 
nation of the unusual opinion. The same alarm ao-ain 

444 Shrhiianity and Physical Science. 

occupies the public mind when the Copernican S3stein 
was first advocated : nor were the received traditions, 
which were the ground of that alarm, hastily to be 
rejected ; yet rejected they ultimately have been. If 
in any quarter these human traditions were enforced, 
and, as it were, enacted, to the prejudice and detriment 
of scientific investigations (and this was never done by 
the Church herself), this was a case of undue interference 
on the part of the Theological schools in the province 
of Physics, 

So much may be said as regards interpretations of 
Scripture ; but it is easy to see that other received 
opinions, not resting on the sacred volume, might with 
less claim and greater inconvenience be put forward to 
harass the physical inquirer, to challenge his submission, 
and to preclude that process of examination which is 
proper to his own peculiar pursuit. Such are the dicta- 
torial formulae against which Bacon inveighs, and the 
effect of which was to change Physics into a deductive 
science, and to oblige the student to assume implicitly, 
as first principles, enunciations and maxims, which were 
venerable, only because no one could tell whence they 
came, and authoritative, only because no one could say 
what arguments there were in their favour. In proportion 
as these encroachments were made upon his own field of 
inquiry would be the indignation of the physical philo- 
sopher ; and he would exercise a scepticism which re- 
lieved his feelings, while it approved itself to his reason, 
if he was called on ever to keep in mind that light bodies 
went up, and heavy bodies fell down, and other similar 
maxims, which had no pretensions to a divine origin, or 
to be considered self-evident principles, or intuitive truths. 
And in like manner, if a piiilosopher with a true genius 
for physical research found the Physical Schools of his 

Christia7iity arid Physical Science. \/\ 5 

day occupied with the discussion of final causes, and 
solving difficulties in material nature by means of them ; 
if he found it decided, for instance, that the roots of trees 
make for the river, because they need moisture, or that 
the axis of the earth lies at a certain angle to the plane 
of its motion by reason of certain advantages thence 
accruing to its inhabitants, I should not wonder at his 
exerting himself for a great reform in the process of in- 
quiry, preaching the method of Induction, and, if he 
fancied that theologians were indirectly or in any respect 
the occasion of the blunder, getting provoked for a time, 
however unreasonably, with Theology itself. 

I wish the experimental school of Philosophers had 
gone no further in its opposition to Theology than in- 
dulging in some indignation at it for the fault of its dis- 
ciples ; but it must be confessed that it has run into 
excesses on its own side for which the school of high 
Deductive Science has afforded no precedent ; and that, 
if it once for a time suffered from the tyranny of the 
logical method of inquiry, it has encouraged, by way of 
reprisals, encroachments and usurpations on the province 
of Theology far more serious than that unintentional ana 
long obsolete interference with its own province, on the 
part of Theologians, which has been its excuse. And to 
these unjustifiable and mischievous intrusions made by 
the Experimentalists into the department of Theology 
1 have now. Gentlemen, to call your attention. 


You will let me repeat, then, what I have already said, 
that, taking things as they are, the very idea of Revela- 
tion is that of a direct interference from above, for the 
introduction of truths otherwise unknown ; moreover, as 
such a communication implies recipients, an authoritative 

446 CJiristianity and Physical Science, 

depositary of the things revealed will be found practically 
to be involved in that idea. Knowledge, then, of these 
revealed truths, is gained, not by any research into facts, 
but simply by appealing to the authoritative keepers of 
them, as every Catholic knows, by learning what is a 
matter of teaching, and by dwelling upon, and drawing 
out into detail, the doctrines which are delivered ; ac- 
cording to the text, " Faith cometh by hearing," I do 
not prove what, after all, does not need proof, because 
I speak to Catholics ; I am stating what we Catholics 
know, and ever will maintain to be the method proper 
to Theology, as it has ever been recognized. Such, I 
say, is the theological method, deductive ; however, the 
history of the last three centuries is only one long course 
of attempts, on the part of the partisans of the Baconian 
Philosophy, to get rid of the method proper to Theology 
and to make it an experimental science. 

But, I say, for an experimental science, we must have 
a large collection of phenomena or facts : where, then, are 
those which are to be adopted as a basis for an inductive 
theology .-' Three principal stores have been used. Gentle- 
men : the first, the text of Holy Scripture ; the second, 
the events and transactions of ecclesiastical history ; the 
third, the phenomena of the visible world. This triple 
subject-matter, — Scripture, Antiquity, Nature, — has been 
taken as a foundation, on which the inductive method may 
be exercised for the investigation and ascertainment of 
that theological truth, which to a Catholic is a matter of 
teaching, transmission, and deduction. 

Now let us pause for a moment and make a reflection 
before going into any detail. Truth cannot be contrary 
to truth ; if these three subject-matters were able, under 
the pressure of the inductive method, to yield respectively 
theological conclusions in unison and in concord with each 

Christianiiy and Physical Science. 447 

ofcliei", and also contrary to the doctrines of Theology as 
a deductive science, then that Theology would not indeed 
at once be overthrown (for still the question would remain 
for discussion, which of the two doctrinal systems was the 
truth, and which the apparent truth), but certainly the 
received deductive theological science would be in an 
anxious position, and would be on its trial. 

Again, truth cannot be contrary to truth ; — if, then, on 
the other hand, these three subject-matters, — Scripture, 
Antiquity, and Nature, — worked through three centuries 
by men of great abilities, with the method or instrument 
of Bacon in their hands, have respectively issued in con- 
clusions contradictory of each other, nay, have even issued, 
this or that taken by itself. Scripture or Antiquity, in 
various systems of doctrine, so that on the whole, instead 
of all three resulting in one set of conclusions, they have 
yielded a good score of them ; then and in that case — 
it does not at once follow that no one of this score of 
conclusions may happen to be the true one, and all the 
rest false ; but at least such a catastrophe will throw 
a very grave shade of doubt upon them all. and bears out 
the antecedent declaration, or rather prophecy, of theo- 
logians, before these experimentalists started, that it was 
nothing more than a huge mistake to introduce the method 
of research and of induction into the study of Theology 
at all. 

Now I think you will allow me to say, Gentlemen, as 
a matter of historical fact, that the latter supposition has 
been actually fulfilled, and that the former has not. I 
mean that, so far from a scientific proof of some one 
system of doctrine, and that antagonistic to the old 
Theology, having been constructed by the experimental 
party, by a triple convergence, from the several bases of 
Scripture, Antiquity, and Nature, on the contrary, that 

4^\S Christianity and Fhysical Science. 

cMnpirical method, which has done such wonderful things 
in physics and other human sciences, l;as sustained a most 
emphatic and eloquent reverse in its usurped territory, — 
has come to no one conclusion, — has illuminated no de- 
finite view, — has brought its glasses to no focus, — has 
shown not even a tendency towards prospective success ; 
nay, further still, has already confessed its own absolute 
failure, and has closed the inquiry itself, not indeed by- 
giving place to the legitimate method which it dispos- 
sessed, but by announcing that nothing can be known 
on the subject at all, — that religion is not a science, and 
that in religion scepticism is the only true philosophy ; 
or again, by a still more remarkable avowal, that the 
decision lies between the old Theology and none at all, 
and that, certain though it be that religious truth is no- 
where, yet that, if anywhere it is, it undoubtedly is not 
in the new empirical schools, but in that old teaching, 
founded on the deductive method, which was in honour 
and in possession at the time when Experiment and In- 
duction commenced their brilliant career. What a sin- 
gular break-down of a noble instrument, when used for 
the arrogant and tyrannical invasion of a sacred territory! 
What can be more sacred than Theology ? What can 
be more noble than the Baconian method ? But the two 
do not correspond ; they are mismatched. The age has 
mistaken lock and key. It has broken the key in a lock 
which does not belong to it ; it has ruined the wards by 
a key which never will fit into them. Let us hope that 
its present disgust and despair at the result are the pre- 
liminaries of a generous and great repentance. 

I have thought. Gentlemen, that you would allow me 
to draw this moral in the first place ; and now I will say 
a few words on one specimen oi this error in detail. 

Christianity and Physical Science. 449 


It seems, then, that instead of having recourse to the 
tradition and teaching of the Catholic Church, it has been 
the philosophy of the modern school to attempt to de- 
termine the doctrines of Theology by means of Holy 
Scripture, or of ecclesiastical antiquity, or of physical 
phenomena. And the question may arise, why, after all, 
should not such informations, scriptural, historical, or 
physical, be used ? and if used, why should they not lead 
to true results ? Various answers may be given to this 
question : I shall confine myself to one ; and again, for 
the sake of brevity, I shall apply it mainly to one out of 
the three expedients, to which the opponents to Theology 
have had recourse. Passing over, then, what might be 
said respecting what is called Scriptural Religion, and 
Historical Religion, I propose to direct your attention, in 
conclusion, to the real character of Physical Religion, or 
Natural Theology, as being more closely connected with 
the main subject of this Lecture. 

The school of Physics, from its very drift and method 
of reasoning, has, as I have said, nothing to do with 
Religion. However, there is a science which avails itself 
of the phenomena and laws of the material universe, as 
exhibited by that school, as a means of establishing the 
existence of Design in their construction, and thereby 
the fact of a Creator and Preserver. This science has, in 
these modern times, at least in England, taken the name 
of Natural Theology ;* and, though absolutely distinct 
from Physics, yet Physical Philosophers, having furnished 
its most curious and interesting data, are apt to claim it 
as their own, and to pride themselves upon it accordingly. 

• I use the word, not in the sense of " Naturalis Theologia," but, in the 
sense in which Paley uses it in the work which he has so entitled. 
7. 29 

4 50 Christianity and Physical Science. 

I have no wish to speak lightly of the merits of this 
so-called Natural or, more properly, Physical Theology. 
There are a great many minds so constituted that, when 
they turn their thoughts to the question of the existence 
of a Supreme Being, they feel a comfort in resting the 
proof mainly or solely on the Argument of Design which 
the Universe furnishes. To them this science of Physical 
Theology is of high importance. Again, this science 
exhibits, in great prominence and distinctness, three of 
the more elementary notions which the human reason 
attaches to the idea of a Supreme Being, that is, three of 
His simplest attributes. Power, Wisdom, and Goodness. 

These are great services rendered to faith by Physical 
Theology, and I acknowledge them as such. Whether, 
however, Faith on that account owes any great deal to 
Physics or Physicists, is another matter. The Argument 
from Design is really in no sense due to the philosophy 
of Bacon. The author I quoted just now has a striking 
passage on this point, of which I have already read to 
you a part. "As respects Natural Religion," he says, "it 
is not easy to see that the philosopher of the present day 
is more favourably situated than Thales or Simonides. 
He has before him just the same evidences of design in 
the structure of the universe which the early Greeks had. 
We say, just the same ; for the discoveries of modern astro- 
nomers and anatomists have really added nothing to the 
force of that argument which a reflecting mind finds in 
every beast, bird, insect, fish, leaf, flower, and shell. The 
reasoning by which Socrates, in Xenophon's hearing, 
confuted the little atheist, Aristodemus, is exactly the 
reasoning of Paley's Natural Theology. Socrates makes 
precisely the same use of the statues of Polycletus and 
the pictures of Zeuxis, which Paley makes of the watch." 

Physical Theology, then, is pretty much what it was 

Christianity and Physical Science. 451 

two thousand years ago, and has not received much help 
from modern science : but now, on the contrary, I think 
it has received from it a positive disadvantage, — I mean, 
it has been taken out of its place, has been put too promi- 
nently forward, and thereby has almost been used as an 
instrument against Christianity, — as I will attempt in a 
few words to explain. 


I observe, then, that there are many investigations in 
every subject-matter which only lead us a certain way 
towards truth, and not the whole way : either leading us, 
for instance, to a strong probability, not to a certainty, or 
again, proving only some things out of the whole number 
which are true. And it is plain that if such investiga- 
tions as these are taken as the measure of the whole 
truth, and are erected into substantive sciences, instead 
of being understood to be, what they really are, inchoate 
and subordinate processes, they will, accidentally indeed, 
but seriously, mislead us. 

I. Let us recur for a moment, in illustration, to the 
instances which I have put aside. Consider what is called 
Scriptural Religion, or the Religion of the Bible. The 
fault which the theologian, over and above the question of 
private judgment, will find with a religion logically drawn 
from Scripture only, is, not that it is not true, as far as it 
goes, but that it is not the whole truth ; that it consists of 
only some out of the whole circle of theological doctrines, 
and that, even in the case of those which it includes, it 
does not always invest them with certainty, but only with 
probability. If, indeed, the Religion of the Bible is made 
subservient to Theology, it is but a specimen of useful 
induction ; but if it is set up, as something complete in 
itself, against Theology, it is turned into a mischievous 

45? Christianity and Physical Science, 

paralogism. And if such a paralogism has taken place, 
and that in consequence of the influence of the Baconian 
philosophy, it shows us what comes of the intrusion of that 
philosophy into a province with which it had no concern, 

2. And so, again, as to Historical Religion, or what is 
often called Antiquity. A research into the records of 
the early Church no Catholic can view with jealousy : 
truth cannot be contrary to truth ; we are confident that 
what is there found will, when maturely weighed, be 
nothing else than an illustration and confirmation of 
our own Theology. But it is another thing altogether 
whether the results will go to the full lengths of our 
Theology ; they will indeed concur with it, but only as far 
as they go. There is no reason why the data for investi- 
gation supplied by the extant documents of Antiquity 
should be sufficient for all that was included in the Divine 
Revelation delivered by the Apostles ; and to expect 
that they will is like expecting that one witness in a 
trial is to prove the whole case, and that his testimony 
actually contradicts it, unless it does. While, then, this 
research into ecclesiastical history and the writings of 
the Fathers keeps its proper place, as subordinate to the 
magisterial sovereignty of the Theological Tradition 
and the voice of the Church, it deserves the acknow- 
ledgments of theologians ; but when it (so to say) sets 
up for itself, when it professes to fulfil an ofSce for which 
it was never intended, when it claims to issue in a true 
and full teaching, derived by a scientific process of 
induction, then it is but another instance of the encroach- 
ment of the Baconian empirical method in a depart- 
ment not its own. 

3. And now we come to the case of Physical Theology, 
which is directly before us. I confess, in spite of what- 
ever may be said in its favour, I have ever viewed it with 

Christianity and Physical Science. 453 

the greatest suspicion. As one class of thinkers has 
substituted what is called a Scriptural Religion, and 
another a Patristical or Primitive Religion, for the theo- 
logical teaching of Catholicism, so a Physical Religion 
or Theology is the very gospel of many persons of the 
Physical School, and therefore, true as it may be in itself, 
still under the circumstances is a false gospel. Half of 
the truth is a falsehood : — consider, Gentlemen, what this 
so-called Theology teaches, and then say whether what 
I have asserted is extravagant. 

Any one divine attribute of course virtually includes 
all ; still if a preacher always insisted on the Divine 
Justice, he would practically be obscuring the Divine 
Mercy, and if he insisted only on the incommunicableness 
and distance from the creature of the Uncreated Essence, 
he would tend to throw into the shade the doctrine of a 
Particular Providence. Observe, then. Gentlemen, that 
Physical Theology teaches three Divine Attributes, I may 
say, exclusively ; and of these, most of Power, and least 
of Goodness. 

And in the next place, what, on the contrary, are those 
special Attributes, which are the immediate correlatives 
of religious sentiment .-* Sanctity, omniscience, justice, 
mercy, faithfulness. What does Physical Theology, what 
does the Argument from Design, what do fine disquisitions 
about final causes, teach us, except very indirectly, faintly, 
enigmatically, of these transcendently important, these 
essential portions of the idea of Religion t Religion is 
more than Theology ; it is something relative to us ; and 
it includes our relation towards the Object of it. What 
does Physical Theology tell us of duty and conscience } 
of a particular providence .-* and, coming at length to 
Christianity, what does it teach us even of the four last 
things, death, judgment, heaven, and hell, the mere ele- 

454 Christianity a?id Physical Science. 

ments of Christianity ? It cannot tell us anything of 
Christianity at all. 

Gentlemen, let me press this point upon your earnest 
attention. I say Physical Theology cannot, from the 
nature of the case, tell us one word about Christianity 
proper ; it cannot be Christian, in any true sense, at all : 
— and from this plain reason, because it is derived from 
informations which existed just as they are now, before 
man was created, and Adam fell. How can that be a 
real substantive Theology, though it takes the name, 
which is but an abstraction, a particular aspect of the 
whole truth, and is dumb almost as regards the moral 
attributes of the Creator, and utterly so as regards the 
evangelical ? 

Nay, more than this ; I do not hesitate to say that, 
taking men as they are, this so-called science tends, if it 
occupies the mind, to dispose it against Christianity. And 
for this plain reason, because it speaks only of laws ; and 
cannot contemplate their suspension, that is, miracles, 
which are of the essence of the idea of a Revelation. 
Thus, the God of Physical Theology may very easily 
become a mere idol ; for He comes to the inductive mind 
in the medium of fixed appointments, so excellent, so 
skilful, so beneficent, that, when it has for a long time 
gazed upon them, it will think them too beautiful to be 
broken, and will at length so contract its notion of Him 
as to conclude that He never could have the heart (if I 
may dare use such a term) to undo or mar His own work ; 
and this conclusion will be the first step towards its de- 
grading its idea of God a second time, and identifying 
Him with His works. Indeed, a Being of Power, Wisdom, 
and Goodness, and nothing else, is not very different from 
the God of the Pantheist. 

In thus speaking of the Theology of the modern Phy- 

ChrhtiaiiUy and Physical Scioice. 455 

sical School, I have said but a few words on a large sub- 
ject ; yet, though few words, I trust they are clear enough 
not to hazard the risk of being taken in a sense which I 
do not intend. Graft the science, if it is so to be called, 
on Theology proper, and it will be in its right place, and 
will be a religious science. Then it will illustrate the 
awful, incomprehensible, adorable Fertility of the Divine 
Omnipotence ; it will serve to prove the real miraculous- 
ness of the Revelation in its various parts, by impressing 
on the mind vividly what are the laws of nature, and how 
immutable they are in their own order ; and it will in 
other ways subserve theological truth. Separate it from 
the supernatural teaching, and make it stand on its own 
base, and (though of course it is better for the individual 
philosopher himself), yet, as regards his influence on the 
world and the interests of Religion, I really doubt whether 
I should not prefer that he should be an Atheist at once 
than such a naturalistic, pantheistic religionist. His 
profession of Theology deceives others, perhaps deceives 

Do not for an instant suppose, Gentlemen, that I would 
identify the great mind of Bacon with so serious a delu- 
sion: he has expressly warned us against it; but I cannot 
deny that many of his school have from time to time in 
this way turned physical research against Christianity. 

But I have detained you far longer than I had in- 
tended ; and now I can only thank you for the patience 
which has enabled you to sustain a discussion which 
cannot be complete, upon a subject which, however* 
momentous, cannot be popular. 





THIS is a time, Gentlemen, when not only the 
Classics, but m.uch more the Sciences, in the largest 
sense of the word, are looked upon with anxiety, not 
altogether ungrounded, by religious men ; and, whereas 
a University such as ours professes to embrace all depart- 
ments and exercises of the intellect, and since I for 
my part wish to stand on good terms with all kinds of 
knowledge, and have no intention of quarrelling with 
any, and would open my heart, if not my intellect (for 
that is beyond me), to the whole circle of truth, and 
would tender at least a recognition and hospitality even 
to those studies which are strangers to me, and would 
speed them on their way, — therefore, as I have already 
been making overtures of reconciliation, first between 
Polite Literature and Religion, and next between Physics 
and Theology, so I would now say a word by way of de- 
precating and protesting against the needless antagonism^ 
which sometimes exists in fact, between divines and the 
cultivators of the Sciences generally. 


Here I am led at once to expatiate on the grandeur 

Christianity and Scientijic Investigation. 457 

of an Institution which is comprehensive enough to 
admit the discussion of a subject such as this. Among 
the objects of human enterprise, — I may say it surely 
without extravagance, Gentlemei, — none higher or 
nobler can be named than that which is contemplated 
in the erection of a University. To set on foot and to 
maintain in life and vigour a real University, is con- 
fessedly, as soon as the word " University " is under- 
stood, one of those greatest works, great in their difficulty 
and their importance, on which are deservedly expended 
the rarest intellects and the most varied endowments. 
For, first of all, it professes to teach whatever has to be 
taught in any whatever department of human knowledge, 
and it embraces in its scope the loftiest subjects of 
human thought, and the richest fields of human inquiry. 
Nothing is too vast, nothing too subtle, nothing too dis- 
tant, nothing too minute, nothing too discursive, nothing 
too exact, to engage its attention. 

This, however, is not the reason why I claim for it so 
sovereign a position ; for, to bring schools of all know- 
ledge under one name, and call them a University, may 
be fairly said to be a mere generalization ; and to pro- 
claim that the prosecution of all kinds of knowledge to 
their utmost limits demands the fullest reach and range 
of our intellectual faculties is but a truism. My reason 
for speaking of a University in the terms on which I 
have ventured is, not that it occupies the whole territory 
of knowledge merely, but that it is the very realm ; that 
it professes much more than to take in and to lodge as 
in a caravanserai all art and science, all history and 
philosophy. In truth, it professes to assign to each 
study, which it receives, its own proper place and its just 
boundaries ; to define the rights, to establish the mutual 
relations, and to effect the intercommunion of one and 

45 S Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 

all ; to keep in check the ambitious and encroaching-, 
and to succour and maintain those which from time to 
time are succumbing under the more popular or the 
more fortunately circumstanced ; to keep the peace be- 
tween them all, and to convert their mutual differences 
and contrarieties into the common good. This, Gentle- 
men, is why I say that to erect a University is at once 
so arduous and beneficial an undertaking, viz., because 
it is pledged to admit, without fear, without prejudice, 
without compromise, all comers, if they come in the 
name of Truth ; to adjust views, and experiences, and 
habits of mind the most independent and dissimilar ; 
and to give full play to thought and erudition in their 
most original forms, and their most intense expressions, 
and in their most ample circuit. Thus to draw many 
things into one, is its special function ; and it learns to 
do it, not by rules reducible to writing, but by sagacity, 
wisdom, and forbearance, acting upon a profound insight 
into the subject-matter of knowledge, and by a vigilant 
repression of aggression or bigotry in any quarter. 

We count it a great thing, and justly so, to plan and 
carry out a wide political organization. To bring under 
one yoke, after the manner of old Rome, a hundred 
discordant peoples ; to maintain each of them in its own 
privileges within its legitimate range of action ; to allow 
them severally the indulgence of national feelings, and 
the stimulus of rival interests ; and yet withal to blend 
them into one great social establishment, and to pledge 
them to the perpetuity of the one imperial power ; — this 
is an achievement which carries with it the unequivocal 
token of genius in the race which effects it. 

" Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento." 
This was the special boast, as the poet considered it, 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 459 

of the Roman ; a boast as high in its own line as that 
other boast, proper to the Greek nation, of literary pre- 
eminence, of exuberance of thought, and of skill and 
refinement in expressing it. 

What an empire is in political history, such is a 
University in the sphere of philosophy and research. It 
is, as I have said, the high protecting power of all know- 
ledge and science, of fact and principle, of inquiry and 
discovery, of experiment and speculation ; it maps out 
the territory of the intellect, and sees that the boundaries 
of each province are religiously respected, and that there 
is neither encroachment nor surrender on any side. It 
acts as umpire between truth and truth, and, taking into 
account the nature and importance of each, assigns to all 
their due order of precedence. It maintains no one 
department of thought exclusively, however ample and 
noble ; and it sacrifices none. It is deferential and loyal, 
according to their respective weight, to the claims of 
literature, of physical research, of history, of metaphysics, 
of theological science. It is impartial towards them all, 
and promotes each in its own place and for its own 
object. It is ancillary certainly, and of necessity, to the 
Catholic Church ; but in the same way that one of the 
Queen's judges is an officer of the Queen's, and never- 
theless determines certain legal proceedings between tiie 
Queen and her subjects. It isministrative to the Catholic 
Church, first, because truth of any kind can but minister 
to truth ; and next, still more, because Nature ever will 
pay homage to Grace, and Reason cannot but illustrate 
and defend Revelation ; and thirdly, because the Church 
has a sovereign authority, and, when she speaks ex cathe- 
dra, must be obeyed. But this is the remote end of a 
University ; its immediate end (with which alone we 
have here to do) is to secure the due disposition, accord - 

460 Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 

ing to one sovereign order, and the cultivation in that 
order, of all the provinces and methods of thought which 
the human intellect has created. 

In this point of view, its several professors are like the 
ministers of various political powers at one court or con- 
ference. They represent their respective sciences, and 
attend to the private interests of those sciences respec- 
tively ; and, should dispute arise between those sciences, 
they are the persons to talk over and arrange it, without 
risk of extravagant pretensions on any side, of angry 
collision, or of popular commotion. A liberal philosophy 
becomes the habit of minds thus exercised ; a breadth 
and spaciousness of thought, in which lines, seemingly 
parallel, may converge at leisure, and principles, recog- 
nized as incommensurable, may be safely antagonistic. 


And here, Gentlemen, we recognize the special cha- 
racter of the Philosophy I am speaking of, if Philosophy 
it is to be called, in contrast with the method of a strict 
science or system. Its teaching is not founded on one 
idea, or reducible to certain formulas. Newton might 
discover the great law of motion in the physical world, 
and the key to ten thousand phenomena ; and a similar 
resolution of complex facts into simple principles may 
be possible in other departments of nature ; but the 
great Universe itself, moral and material, sensible and 
supernatural, cannot be gauged and meted by even the 
greatest of human intellects, and its constituent parts 
admit indeed of comparison and adjustment, but not 
of fusion. This is the point which bears directly on the 
subject which I set before me when 1 began, and towards 
which I am moving in all I have said or shall be saying. 

I observe, then, and ask you, Gentlemen, to bear in mind, 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 46 1 

that the philosophy of an imperial intellect, for such I 
am considering a University to be, is based, not so much 
on simplification as on discrimination. Its true repre- 
sentative defines, rather than analyzes. He aims at no 
complete catalogue, or interpretation of the subjects of 
knowledge, but a following out, as far as man can, what 
in its fulness is mysterious and unfathomable. Taking 
into his charge all sciences, methods, collections of facts, 
principles, doctrines, truths, which are the reflexions of 
the universe upon the human intellect, he admits them all, 
he disregards none, and, as disregarding none, he allows 
none to exceed or encroach. His watchword is, Live 
and let live. He takes things as they are; he submits to 
them all, as far as they go ; he recognizes the insuperable 
lines of demarcation which run between subject and 
subject; he observes how separate truths lie relatively 
to each other, where they concur, where they part com- 
pany, and where, being carried too far, they cease to be 
truths at all. It is his office to determine how much can be 
known in each province of thought ; when we must be 
contented not to know ; in what direction inquiry is 
hopeless, or on the other hand full of promise ; where it 
gathers into coils insoluble by reason, where it is absorbed 
in mysteries, or runs into the abyss. It will be his care to 
be familiar with the signs of real and apparent difficulties, 
with the methods proper to particular subject-matters, 
what in each particular case are the limits of a rational 
scepticism, and what the claims of a peremptory faith. If 
he has one cardinal maxim in his philosophy, it is, that 
truth cannot be contrary to truth ; if he has a second, it is, 
that truth often seems contrary to truth ; and, if a third, 
it is the practical conclusion, that we must be patient 
with such appearances, and not be hasty to pronounce 
them to be really of a more formidable character. 

462 Ckristianiiy and Scientific hivestigation. 

It is the very immensity of the system of thiugs, the 
human record of which he has in charge, which is the 
reason of this patience and caution ; for that immensity 
suggests to him that the contrarieties and mysteries, which 
meet him in the various sciences, may be simply the 
consequences of our necessarily defective comprehension. 
There is but one thought greater than that of the universe, 
and that is the thought of its Maker. If, Gentlemen, for 
one single instant, leaving my proper train of thought, I 
allude to our knowledge of the Supreme Being, it is in 
order to deduce from it an illustration bearing upon my 
subject. He, though One, is a sort of world of worlds in 
Himself, giving birth in our minds to an indefinite number 
of distinct truths, each ineffably more mysterious than 
any thing that is found in this universe of space and time. 
Any one of His attributes, considered by itself, is the 
object of an inexhaustible science : and the attempt to 
reconcile any two or three of them together, — love, power, 
justice, sanctity, truth, wisdom, — affords matter for an 
everlasting controversy. We are able to apprehend and 
receive each divine attribute in its elementary form, but 
still we are not able to accept them in their infinity, 
either in themselves or in union with each other. Yet 
we do not deny the first because it cannot be perfectly 
reconciled with the second, nor the second because it is 
in apparent contrariety with the first and the third. The 
case is the same in its degree with His creation material 
and moral. It is the highest wisdom to accept truth of 
whatever kind, wherever it is clearly ascertained to be 
such, though there be difficulty in adjusting it with other 
known truth. 

Instances are easily producible of that extreme con- 
trariety of ideas, one with another, which the contemplation 
of the Universe forces upon our acceptance, making it 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 463 

clear to us that there is nothing irrational in submitting to 
undeniable incompatibilities, which we call apparent, only 
because, if they were not apparent but real, they could 
not co-exist. Such, for instance, is the contemplation of 
Space; the existence of which we cannot deny, though its 
idea is capable, in no sort of posture, of seating itself (if I 
may so speak) in our minds; — for we find it impossible to 
say that it comes to a limit anywhere; and it is incompre- 
hensible to say that it runs out infinitely; and it seems to 
be unmeaning if we say that it does not exist till bodies 
come into it, and thus is enlarged according to an accident. 

And so again in the instance of Time, We cannot 
place a beginning to it without asking ourselves what 
was before that beginning ; yet that there should be no 
beginning at all, put it as far back as we will, is simply 
incomprehensible. Here again, as in the case of Space, 
we never dream of denying the existence of what we 
have no means of understanding. 

And, passing from this high region of thought (which, 
high as it may be, is the subject even of a child's contem- 
plations), when we come to consider the mutual action 
of soul and body, we are specially perplexed by incom- 
patibilities which we can neither reject nor explain. 
How it is that the will can act on the muscles, is a ques- 
tion of which even a child may feel the force, but which 
no experimentalist can answer. 

Further, when we contrast the physical with the social 
laws under which man finds himself here below, we must 
grant that Physiology and Social Science are in collision. 
Man is both a physical and a social being ; yet he can- 
not at once pursue to the full his physical end and his 
social end, his physical duties (if I may so speak) and 
his social duties, but is forced to sacrifice in part one or 
the other. If we were wild enough to fancy that there 

464 Ch'istianiiy and Scientific Invesligation. 

were two creators, one of whom was the author of our 
animal frames, the other of society, then indeed we 
might understand how it comes to pass that labour of 
mind and body, the useful arts, the duties of a statesman, 
government, and the like, which are required by the 
social system, are so destructive of health, enjoyment, 
and life. That is, in other words, we cannot adequately 
account for existing and undeniable truths except on the 
hypothesis of what we feel to be an absurdity. 

And so in Mathematical Science, as has been often 
insisted on, the philosopher has patiently to endure the 
presence of truths, which are not the less true for being 
irreconcileable with each other. He is told of the exist- 
ence of an infinite number of curves, which are able to 
divide a space, into which no straight line, though it be 
length without breadth, can even enter. He is told, too, 
of certain lines, which approach to each other con- 
tinually, with a finite distance between them, yet never 
meet ; and these apparent contrarieties he must bear as 
he best can, without attempting to deny the existence 
of the truths which constitute them in the Science in 

Now, let me call your attention, Gentlemen, to what 
I would infer from these familiar facts. It is, to urge 
you with an argument a fortiori : viz., that, as you 
exercise so much exemplary patience in the case of the 
inexplicable truths which surround so many departments 
of knowledge, human and divine, viewed in themselves ; 
as you are not at once indignant, censorious, suspicious, 
difficult of belief, on finding that in the secular sciences 
one truth is incompatible (according to our human in 
tellect) with another or inconsistent with itself ; so you 

Christianity and Scie?itijic Investigation. 465 

should not think it very hard to be told that there 
exists, here and there, not an inextricable difficulty, not 
an astounding contrariety, not (much less) a contradic- 
tion as to clear facts, between Revelation and Nature ; 
but a hitch, an obscurity, a divergence of tendency, a 
temporary antagonism, a difference of tone, between the 
two, — that is, between Catholic opinion on the one hand, 
and astronomy, or geology, or physiology, or ethnology, 
or political economy, or history, or antiquities, on the 
other. I say that, as we admit, because we are Catho- 
lics, that the Divine Unity contains in it attributes, 
which, to our finite minds, appear in partial contrariety 
with each other ; as we admit that, in His revealed 
Nature are things, which, though not opposed to Reason, 
are infinitely strange to the Imagination ; as in His works 
we can neither reject nor admit the ideas of space, and 
of time, and the necessary properties of lines, without 
intellectual distress, or even torture ; really. Gentle- 
men, I am making no outrageous request, when, in the 
name of a University, I ask religious writers, jurists, 
economists, physiologists, chemists, geologists, and his- 
torians, to go on quietly, and in a neighbourly way, in 
their own respective lines of speculation, research, and 
experiment, with full faith in the consistency of that 
multiform truth, which they share between them, in a 
generous confidence that they will be ultimately consist- 
ent, one and all, in their combined results, though there 
may be momentary collisions, awkward appearances, 
and many forebodings and prophecies of contrariety, and 
at all times things hard to the Imagination, though not, 
I repeat, to the Reason. It surely is not asking them a 
great deal to beg of them, — since they are forced to 
admit mysteries in the truths of Revelation, taken by 
themselves, and in the trutlis of Reason, taken by them- 
T 30 

466 Christia7iity and Scientific Investigation. 

selves, — to beg of them, I say, to keep the peace, to live 
in good will, and to exercise equanimity, if, when Nature 
and Revelation are compared with each other, there be, 
as I have said, discrepancies, — not in the issue, but in 
the reasonings, the circumstances, the associations, the 
anticipations, the accidents, proper to their respective 

It is most necessary to insist seriously and energeti- 
cally on this point, for the sake of Protestants, for they 
have very strange notions about us. In spite of the 
testimony of history the other way, they think that the 
Church has no other method of putting down error than 
the arm of force, or the prohibition of inquiry. They 
defy us to set up and carry on a School of Science. For 
their sake, then, I am led to enlarge upon the subject 
here. I say, then, he who believes Revelation with that 
absolute faith which is the prerogative of a Catholic, is not 
the nervous creature who startles at every sudden sound, 
and is fluttered by every strange or novel appearance 
which meets his eyes. He has no sort of apprehension, 
he laughs at the idea, that any thing can be discovered 
by any other scientific method, which can contradict any 
one of the dogmas of his religion. He knows full well 
there is no science whatever, but, in the course of its ex- 
tension, runs the risk of infringing, without any meaning 
of offence on its own part, the path of other sciences : 
and he knows also that, if there be any one science 
which, from its sovereign and unassailable position can 
calmly bear such unintentional collisions on the part of 
the children of earth, it is Theology. He is sure, and 
nothing shall make him doubt, that, if anything seems 
to be proved by astronomer, or geologist, or chronologist, 
or antiquarian, or ethnologist, in contradiction to the 
dogmas of faith, that point will eventually turn out, first, 

Chrisiianity and Scie7itific Investigation. 467 

jiot to be proved, or, secondly, not contradictory, or thirdly, 
not contradictory to any thing really revealed, but to 
something which has been confused with revelation. And 
if, at the moment, it appears to be contradictory, then he 
is content to wait, knowing that error is like other delin- 
quents ; give it rope enough, and it will be found to have 
a strong suicidal propensity. I do not mean to say he 
will not take his part in encouraging, in helping forward 
the prospective suicide ; he will not only give the error 
rope enough, but show it how to handle and adjust the 
rope ; — he will commit the matter to reason, reflection, 
sober judgment, common sense ; to Time, the great in- 
terpreter of so many secrets. Instead of being irritated 
at the momentary triumph of the foes of Revelation, if 
such a feeling of triumph there be, and of hurrying on 
a forcible solution of the difficulty, which may in the 
event only reduce the inquiry to an inextricable tangle, 
he will recollect that, in the order of Providence, our 
seeming dangers are often our greatest gains ; that in the 
words of the Protestant poet. 

The clouds you so much dread 
Are big with mercy, and shall break 
In blessings on your head. 

To one notorious instance indeed it is obvious to allude 
here. When the Copernican system first made progress, 
what religious man would not have been tempted to 
uneasiness, or at least fear of scandal, from the seeming 
contradiction which it inv^olved to some authoritative tra- 
dition of the Church and the declaration of Scripture ? 
It was generally received, as if the Apostles had ex- 
pressly delivered it both orally and in writing, as a truth 
of Revelation, that the earth was stationary, and that 

468 Chrisiia7iity and Scientific Investigation. 

the sun, fixed in a solid firmament, whirled round the 
earth. After a little time, however, and on full considera- 
tion, it was found that the Church had decided next to 
nothing on questions such as these, and that Physical 
Science might range in this sphere of thought almost at 
will, without fear of encountering the decisions of eccle- 
siastical authority. Now, besides the relief which it 
afforded to Catholics to find that they were to be spared 
this addition, on the side of Cosmology, to their many 
controversies already existing, there is something of an 
argument in this very circumstance in behalf of the 
divinity of their Religion. For it surely is a very re- 
markable fact, considering how widely and how long one 
certain interpretation of these physical statements in 
Scripture had been received by Catholics, that the 
Church should not have formally acknowledged it. 
Looking at the matter in a human point of view, it was 
inevitable that she should have made that opinion her 
own. But now we find, on ascertaining where we stand, in 
the face of the new sciences of these latter times, that in 
spite of the bountiful comments which from the first 
she has ever been making on the sacred text, as it is her 
duty and her right to do, nevertheless, she has never 
been led formally to explain the texts in question, or to 
Tive them an authoritative sense which modern science 
may question. 

Nor was this escape a mere accident, but rather the 
result of a providential superintendence ; as would ap- 
pear from a passage of history in the dark age itself. 
When the glorious St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, 
great in sanctity, though not in secular knowledge, com- 
plained to the Holy See that St. Virgilius taught the 
existence of the Antipodes, the Holy See was guided 
what to do ; it did not indeed side with the Irish philo- 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 469 

sopher, which would have been going out of its place, but 
it passed over, in a matter not revealed, a philosophical 

Time went on ; a new state of things, intellectual and 
social, came in ; the Church was girt with temporal 
power ; the preachers of St. Dominic were in the ascen- 
dant : now at length we may ask with curious interest, 
did ths Church alter her ancient rule of action, and pro- 
scribe intellectual activity .-• Just the contrary; this is 
the very age of Universities ; it is the classical period of 
the schoolmen ; it is the splendid and palmar}'- instance 
of the wise policy and large liberality of the Church, as 
regards philosophical inquiry. If there ever was a time 
when the intellect went wild, and had a licentious revel, 
it was at the date I speak of. When was there ever a 
more curious, more meddling, bolder, keener, more pene- 
trating, more rationalistic exercise of the reason than at 
that time .'' What class of questions did that subtle, 
metaphysical spirit not scrutinize } What premiss was 
allowed without examination .<* What principle was not 
traced to its first origin, and exhibited in its most naked 
shape } W^hat whole was not analyzed } What complex 
idea was not elaborately traced out, and, as it were, finely 
painted for the contemplation of the mind, till it was 
spread out in all its minutest portions as perfectly and 
delicately as a frog's foot shows under the intense scrutiny 
of the microscope } Well, I repeat, here was something 
which came somewhat nearer to Theology than physical 
research comes ; Aristotle was a somewhat more serious 
foe then, beyond all mistake, than Bacon has been since. 
Did the Church take a high hand with philosophy then .-' 
No, not though that philosophy was metaphysical. It 
was a time when she had temporal power, and could 
have exterminated the spirit of inquiry with fire and 

470 Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 

sword ; but she determined to put it down by argument; 
she said : " Two can play at that, and my argument is 
the better." She sent her controversialists into the 
philosophical arena. It was the Dominican and Fran- 
ciscan doctors, the greatest of them being St. Thomas, 
who in those medieval Universities fought the battle of 
Revelation with the weapons of heathenism. It was no 
matter whose the weapon was ; truth was truth all the 
world over. With the jawbone of an ass, with the skele- 
ton philosophy of pagan Greece, did the Samson of the 
schools put to flight his thousand Philistines. 

Here, Gentlemen, observe the contrast exhibited be- 
tween the Church herself, who has the gift of wisdom, and 
even the ablest, or wisest, or holiest of her children. As 
St. Boniface had been jealous of physical speculations, 
so had the early Fathers shown an extreme aversion to 
the great heathen philosopher whom I just now named, 
Aristotle. I do not know who of them could endure 
him ; and when there arose those in the middle age who 
would take his part, especially since their intentions 
were of a suspicious character, a strenuous effort was 
made to banish him out of Christendom. The Church 
the while had kept silence ; she had as httle denounced 
heathen philosophy in the mass as she had pronounced 
upon the meaning of certain texts of Scripture of a 
cosmological character. From TertuUian and Caius to 
the two Gregories of Cappadocia, from them to Anasta- 
sius Sinaita, from him to the school of Paris, Aristotle 
was a word of offence ; at length St. Thomas made him 
a hewer of wood and drawer of water to the Church. A 
strong slave he is ; and the Church herself has given her 
sanction to the use in Theology of the ideas and terms 
of his philosophy. 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 471 


Now, while this free discussion is, to say the least, so 
safe for Religion, or rather so expedient, it is on the other 
hand simply necessary for progress in Science ; and I 
shall now go on to insist on this side of the subject. 
I say, then, that it is a matter of primary importance in 
the cultivation of those sciences, in which truth is dis- 
coverable by the human intellect, that the investigator 
should be free, independent, unshackled in his movements; 
that he should be allowed and enabled, without impedi- 
ment, to fix his mind intently, nay, exclusively, on his 
special object, without the risk of being distracted every 
other minute in the process and progress of his inquiry, 
by charges of temerariousness, or by warnings against 
extravagance or scandal. But in thus speaking, I must 
premise several explanations, lest I be misunderstood. 

First, then. Gentlemen, as to the fundamental principles 
of religion and morals, and again as to the fundamental 
principles of Christianity, or what are called the dogmas 
of faith, — as to this double creed, natural and revealed, 
— we, none of us, should say that it is any shackle at all 
upon the intellect to maintain these inviolate. Indeed, 
a Catholic cannot put off his thought of them ; and they 
as little impede the movements of his intellect as the laws 
of physics impede his bodily movements. The habitual 
apprehension of them has become a second nature with 
him, as the laws of optics, hydrostatics, dynamics, are 
latent conditions which he takes for granted in the 
use of his corporeal organs. I am not supposing any 
collision with dogma, I am but speaking of opinions of 
divines, or of the multitude, parallel to those in former 
times of the sun going round the earth, or of the last day 

472 Christianity and Scientific Investigation, 

being close at hand, or of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 
being the author of the works which bear his name. 

Nor, secondly, even as regards such opinions, am I 
supposing any direct intrusion into the province of religion, 
or of. a teacher of Science actually laying down the law 
in a matter of Religion ; but of such unintentional colli- 
sions as are incidental to a discussion pursued on some 
subject of his own. It would be a great mistake in such 
a one to propose his philosophical or historical conclusions 
as the formal interpretation of the sacred text, as Galileo 
is said to have done, instead of being content to hold his 
doctrine of the motion of the earth as a scientific con- 
clusion, and leaving it to those whom it really concerned 
to compare it with Scripture. And, it must be confessed, 
Gentlemen, not a ioy^ instances occur of this mistake at 
the present day, on the part, not indeed of men of science, 
but of religious men, who, from a nervous impatience lest 
Scripture should for one moment seem inconsistent with 
the results of some speculation of the hour, are ever pro- 
posing geological or ethnological comments upon it, which 
they have to alter or obliterate before the ink is well dry, 
from changes in the progressive science, which they have 
so oflFiciously brought to its aid. 

And thirdly, I observe that, when I advocate the in- 
dependence of philosophical thought, I am not speaking 
of dSij formal teaching at all, but of investigations, specu- 
lations, and discussions. I am far indeed from allowing, 
in any matter which even borders on Religion, what an 
eminent Protestant divine has advocated on the most 
sacred subjects, — I mean "the liberty of Prophesying." 
I have no wish to degrade the professors of Science, who 
ought to be Prophets of the Truth, into mere advertisers 
of crude fancies or notorious absurdities. I am not plead- 
ing that they should at random shower down upon their 

Christianity and Scientijic Investigation. 47^5 

hearers ingenuities and novelties ; or that they should 
teach even what has a basis of truth in it, in a brilliant, 
off-hand way, to a collection of youths, who may not 
perhaps hear them for six consecutive lectures, and who 
will carry away with them into the country a misty idea 
of the half-created theories of some ambitious intellect. 

Once more, as the last sentence suggests, there must 
be great care taken to avoid scandal, or shocking the 
popular mind, or unsettling the weak ; the association 
between truth and error being so strong in particular 
minds that it is impossible to weed them of the error 
without rooting up the wheat with it. If, then, there is 
the chance of any current religious opinion being in any 
way compromised in the course of a scientific investiga- 
tion, this would be a reason for conducting it, not in light 
ephemeral publications, which come into the hands of 
the careless or ignorant, but in works of a grave and 
business-like character, answering to the medieval schools 
of philosophical disputation, which, removed as they were 
from the region of popular thought and feeling, have, by 
their vigorous restlessness of inquiry, in spite of their 
extravagances, done so much for theological precision. 


I am not, then, supposing the scientific investigator (i) 
to be coming into collision with dogma ; nor (2) venturing, 
by means of his investigations, upon any interpretation 
of Scripture, or upon other conclusion iti tJie matter of 
religion ; nor (3) of his teaching, even in his own science, 
religious parodoxes, when he should be investigating 
and proposing ; nor (4) of his recklessly scandalising the 
weak ; but, these explanations being made, I still say 
that a scientific speculator or inquirer is not bound, in 
conducting his researches, to be every moment adjusting 

474 Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 

his course by the maxims of the schools or by popular 
traditions, or by those of any other science distinct from 
his own, or to be ever narrowly watching what those 
external sciences have to say to him, or to be determined 
to be edifying, or to be ever answering heretics and un- 
believers ; being confident, from the impulse of a generous 
faith, that, however his line of investigation may swerve 
now and then, and vary to and fro in its course, or 
threaten momentary collision or embarrassment with 
any other department of knowledge, theological or not, 
yet, if he lets it alone, it will be sure to come home, 
because truth never can really be contrary to truth, and 
because often what at first sight is an " exceptio," in the 
event most emphatically " probat regulam." 

This is a point of serious importance to him. Unless he 
is at liberty to Investigate on the basis, and according to 
the peculiarities, of his science, he cannot investigate at 
all. It is the very law of the human mind in its inquiry 
after and acquisition of truth to make its advances by a 
process which consists of many stages, and is circuitous. 
There are no short cuts to knowledge ; nor does the road 
to it always lie in the direction in which it terminates, 
nor are we able to see the end on starting. It may often 
seem to be diverging from a goal into which it will soon 
run without effort, if we are but patient and resolute in 
following it out ; and, as we are told in Ethics to gain 
the mean merely by receding from both extremes, so in 
scientific researches error may be said, without a paradox, 
to be in some instances the way to truth, and the only 
way. Moreover, it is not often the fortune of any one 
man to live through an investigation ; the process is one 
of not only many stages, but of many minds. What 
one begins another finishes ; and a true conclusion is at 
length worked out by the co-operation of independent 

Christianily and Scientific Investigation. 475 

schools and the perseverance of successive generations. 
This being the case, we are obliged, under circum- 
stances, to bear for a while with what we feel to be error, 
in consideration of the truth in which it is eventually to 

The analogy of locomotion is most pertinent here. 
No one can go straight up a mountain ; no sailing vessel 
makes for its port without tacking. And so, applying 
the illustration, we can indeed, if we will, refuse to allow 
of investigation or research altogether ; but, if we invite 
reason to take its place in our schools, we must let reason 
have fair and full play. If we reason, we must submit 
to the conditions of reason. We cannot use it by halves; 
we must use it as proceeding from Him who has also 
given us Revelation ; and to be ever interrupting its 
processes, and diverting its attention by objections 
brought from a higher knowledge, is parallel to a lands- 
man's dismay at the changes in the course of a vessel on 
which he has deliberately embarked, and argues surely 
some distrust either in the powers of Reason on the one 
hand, or the certainty of Revealed Truth on the other. 
The passenger should not have embarked at all, if he 
did not reckon on the chance of a rough sea, of currents, 
of wind and tide, of rocks and shoals ; and we should 
act more wisely in discountenancing altogether the exer- 
cise of Reason than in being alarmed and impatient 
under the suspense, delay, and anxiety which, from the 
nature of the case, may be found to attach to it. Let 
us eschew secular history, and science, and philosophy 
for good and all, if we are not allowed to be sure that 
Revelation is so true that the altercations and perplexi- 
ties of human opinion cannot really or eventually injure 
its authority. That is no intellectual triumph of any 
truth of Religion, which has not been preceded by a full 

476 Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 

statement of what can be said against it ; it is but the 
ego vapulando, ille verberando, of the Comedy. 

Great minds need elbow-room, not indeed in the 
domain of faith, but of thought. And so indeed do lessei 
minds, and all minds. There are many persons in the 
world who are called, and with a great deal of truth, 
geniuses. They had been gifted by nature with some 
particular faculty or capacity ; and, while vehemently 
excited and imperiously ruled by it, they are blind to 
everything else. They are enthusiasts in their own line, 
and are simply dead to the beauty of any line except 
their own. Accordingly, they think their own line the 
only line in the whole world worth pursuing, and they 
feel a sort of contempt for such studies as move upon 
any other line. Now, these men may be, and often are, 
very good Catholics, and have not a dream of any thing 
but affection and deference towards Catholicity, nay, 
perhaps are zealous in its interests. Yet, if you insist 
that in their speculations, researches, or conclusions in 
their particular science, it is not enough that they should 
submit to the Church generally, and acknowledge its 
dogmas, but that they must get up all that divines have 
said or the multitude believed upon religious matters, 
you simply crush and stamp out the flame within them, 
and they can do nothing at all. 

This is the case of men of genius : now one word on 
the contrary in behalf of master minds, gifted with a 
broad philosophical view of things, and a creative power, 
and a versatility capable of accommodating itself to 
various provinces of thought. These persons perhaps, 
like those I have already spoken of, take up some idea 
and are intent upon it ; — some deep, prolific, eventful 
idea, which grows upon them, till they develop it into a 
great system. Now, if any such thinker starts from 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 477 

radically unsound principles, or aims at directly false 
conclusions, if he be a Hobbes, or a Shaftesbury, or a 
Hume, or a Bentham, then, of course, there is an end of 
the whole matter. He is an opponent of Revealed 
Truth, and he means to be so ; — nothing more need be 
said. But perhaps it is not so ; perhaps his errors are 
those which are inseparable accidents of his system or 
of his mind, and are spontaneously evolved, not perti- 
naciously defended. Every human system, every human 
writer, is open to just criticism. Make him shut up his 
portfolio ; good ! and then perhaps you lose what, on 
the whole and in spite of incidental mistakes, would 
have been one of the ablest defences of Revealed Truth 
(directly or indirectly, according to his subject) ever 
given to the world. 

This is how I should account for a circumstance, which 
has sometimes caused surprise, that so many great 
Catholic thinkers have in some points or other incurred 
the criticism or animadversion of theologians or of eccle- 
siastical authority. It must be so in the nature of 
things ; there is indeed an animadversion which implies 
a condemnation of the author ; but there is another 
which means not much more than the " pi6 legendum " 
written against passages in the Fathers. The author 
may not be to blame; yet the ecclesiastical authority 
would be to blame, if it did not give notice of his im- 
perfections. I do not know what Catholic would not 
hold the name of Malebranche in veneration ; * but he 
may have accidentally come into collision with theolo- 
gians, or made temerarious assertions, notwithstanding. 

* Cardinal Gerdil speaks of his "Metaphysique,"as "brillante alaverit^, 
mais non moins solide" (p. 9.), and that "la liaison qui enchaine toutes les 
parties du systeme philosophique du Pere Malebranche, . . pourra servir 
d'apologie a la noble assurance, avec laquelle il propose ses sentiments." 
(p. 12, CEuvres, t. iv.) 

478 Christimiity and Scientific hivesiigation. 

The practical question is, whether he had not much 
better have written as he has written, than not have 
written at all. And so fully is the Holy See accustomed 
to enter into this view of the matter, that it has allowed 
of its application, not only to philosophical, but even to 
theological and ecclesiastical authors, who do not come 
within the range of these remarks. I believe I am right 
in saying that, in the case of three great names, in 
various departments of learning. Cardinal Noris, Bossuet, 
and Muratori,* while not concealing its sense of their 
having propounded each what might have been said 
better, nevertheless it has considered, that their services 
to Religion were on the whole far too important to allow 
of their being molested by critical observation in detail. 


And now, Gentlemen, I bring these remarks to a con- 
clusion. What I would urge upon every one, whatever 
may be his particular line of research, — what I would 
urge upon men of Science in their thoughts of Theology, 
— what I would venture to recommend to theologians, 
when their attention is drawn to the subject of scientific 
investigations, — is a great and firm belief in the sove- 
reignty of Truth. Error may flourish for a time, but 
Truth will prevail in the end. The only effect of error 
ultimately is to promote Truth. Theories, speculations, 
hypotheses, are started ; perhaps they are to die, still 
not before they have suggested ideas better than them- 
selves. These better ideas are taken up in turn by other 
men, and, if they do not yet lead to truth, nevertheless 
they lead to what is still nearer to truth than themselves ; 
and thus knowledge on the whole makes progress. The 

* Muratori's work was not directly theological. Vid. note at the end of 
the Volume. 

Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 479 

errors of some minds in scientific investigation are more 
fruitful than the truths of others. A Science seems 
making no progress, but to abound in failures, yet im- 
perceptibly all the time it is advancing, and it is of 
course a gain to truth even to have learned what is not 
true, if nothing more. 

On the other hand, it must be of course remembered, 
Gentlemen, that I am supposing all along good faith, 
honest intentions, a loyal Catholic spirit, and a deep 
sense of responsibility. I am supposing, in the scientific 
inquirer, a due fear of giving scandal, of seeming to 
countenance views which he does not really countenance, 
and of siding with parties from whom he heartily differs. 
I am supposing that he is fully alive to the existence 
and the power of the infidelity of the age ; that he 
keeps in mind the moral weakness and the intellectual 
confusion of the majority of men ; and that he has no 
wish at all that any one soul should get harm from 
certain speculations to-day, though he may have the 
satisfaction of being sure that those speculations will, as 
far as they are erroneous or misunderstood, be corrected 
in the course of the next half- century. 




WHEN I found that it was in my power to be pre- 
sent here at the commencement of the new Ses- 
sion, one of the first thoughts, Gentlemen, which thereupon 
occurred to me, was this, that I should in consequence 
have the great satisfaction of meeting you, of whom I 
had thought and heard so much, and the opportunity of 
addressing you, as Rector of the University, I can truly 
say that I thought of you before you thought of the 
University ; perhaps I may say, long before ; — for it was 
previously to our commencing that great work, which is 
now so fully before the public, it was when I first came 
over here to make preparations for it, that I had to 
encounter the serious objection of wise and good men, 
who said to me, "There is no class of persons in Ireland 
who need a University ; " and again, " Whom will you 
get to belong to it ? who will fill its lecture-rooms ? " 
This was said to me, and then, without denying their 
knowledge of the state of Ireland, or their sagacity, I 
made answer, " We will give lectures in the evening, we 
will fill our classes with the young men of Dublin," 
And some persons here may recollect that the very 

Discipline of Mind. 481 

first thing I did, when we opened the School of Philoso- 
phy and Letters, this time four years, was to institute a 
system of Evening Lectures, which were suspended aftei 
a while, only because the singularly inclement season 
which ensued, and the want of publicity and interest 
incident to a new undertaking, made them premature. 
And it is a satisfaction to me to reflect that the Statute, 
under which you will be able to pass examinations and 
take degrees, is one to which I specially obtained the 
consent of the Academical Senate, nearly two years ago, 
in addition to our original Regulations, and that you 
will be the first persons to avail yourselves of it. 

Having thus prepared, as it were, the University for 
you, it was with great pleasure that I received from a 
number of you, Gentlemen, last May year, a spontaneous 
request which showed that my original anticipations were 
not visionary. You suggested then what we have since 
acted upon, — acted upon, not so quickly as both you 
might hope and we might wish, because all important 
commencements have to be maturely considered — still 
acted on at length according to those anticipations of 
mine, to which 1 have referred ; and, while 1 recur to 
them as an introduction to what I have to say, I might 
also dwell upon them as a sure presage that other and 
bfoader anticipations, too bold as they may seem now, 
will, if we are but patient, have their fulfilment in their 

For I should not be honest. Gentlemen, if I did not 
confess that, much as I desire that this University 
should be of service to the young men of Dublin, I do 
not desire this benefit to you, simply for your own sakes. 
For your own sakes certainly I wish it, but not on yqui* 
7* 31 

4S2 Discipline 0/ Mind. 

account only. Man is not born for himself alone, as the 
classical moralist tells us. You are born for Ireland ; 
and, in your advancement, Ireland is advanced ; — in 
your advancement in what is good and what is true, in 
knowledge, in learning, in cultivation of mind, in enlight- 
ened attachment to your religion, in good name and 
respectability and social influence, I am contemplating 
the honour and renown, the literary and scientific aggran- 
disement, the increase of political power, of the Island 
of the Saints. 

I go further still. If I do homage to the many virtues 
and gifts of the Irish people, and am zealous for their 
full development, it is not simply for the sake of them- 
selves, but because the name of Ireland ever has been, 
and, I believe, ever will be, associated with the Catholic 
Faith, and because, in doing any service, however poor it 
may be, to Ireland, a man is ministering, in his own 
place and measure, to the cause of the Holy Roman 
Apostolic Church. 

Gentlemen, I should consider it an impertinence in 
me thus to be speaking to you of myself, were it not 
that, in recounting to you the feelings with which I have 
witnessed the establishment of these Evening Classes, I 
am in fact addressing to you at the same time words of 
encouragement and advice, such words as it becomes a 
Rector to use in speaking to those who are submitted to 
his care. 

I say, then, that, had I been younger than I was when 
the high office which I at present hold was first offered 
to me, had I not had prior duties upon me of affection 
and devotion to the Oratory of St. Philip, and to my 
own dear country, no position whatever, in the whole 
range of administrations which are open to the ambition 
of those who wish to serve God in their g5ieration, and 

Discipline of Mind. 483 

to do some great work before they die, would have had 
more attractions for me than that of being at the head 
of a University like this. When I became a Catholic, one 
of my first questions was, "Why have not our Catholics a 
University?" and Ireland, and the metropolis of Ireland, 
was obviously the proper seat of such an institution. 

Ireland is the proper seat of a Catholic University, on 
account of its ancient hereditary Catholicity, and again 
of the future which is in store for it. It is impossible, 
Gentlemen, to doubt that a future is in store for Ireland, 
for more reasons than can here be enumerated. First, 
there is the circumstance, so highly suggestive, even if 
there was nothing else to be said, viz., that the Irish 
have been so miserably ill-treated and misused hitherto ; 
for, in the times now opening upon us, nationalities are 
waking into life, and the remotest people can make 
themselves heard into all the quarters of the earth. The 
lately invented methods of travel and of intelligence 
have destroyed geographical obstacles ; and the wrongs 
of the oppressed, in spite of oceans or of mountains, are 
brought under the public opinion of Europe, — not before 
kings and governments alone, but before the tribunal of 
the European populations, who are becoming ever more 
powerful in the determination of political questions. And 
thus retribution is demanded and exacted for past crimes 
in proportion to their heinousness and their duration. 

And in the next place, it is plain that, according as 
intercommunion grows between Europe and America, it 
is Ireland that must grow with it in social and political 
importance. For Ireland is the high road by which that 
intercourse is carried on ; and the traffic between hemi- 
spheres must be to her a source of material as well as 
social benefit, — as of old time, though on the minute 
geographical scale of Greece, Corinth, as being the 

484 Discipline 0/ Mi?id. 

thoroughfare of commerce by sea and land, became and 
was called " the rich." 

And then, again, we must consider the material re- 
sources of Ireland, so insufficiently explored, so poorly 
developed, — of which it belongs to them rather to speak, 
who by profession and attainments are masters of the 

That this momentous future, thus foreshadowed, will 
be as glorious for Catholicity as for Ireland we cannot 
doubt from the experience of the past ; but, as Provi- 
dence works by means of human agencies, that natural 
anticipation has no tendency to diminish the anxiety and 
earnestness of all zealous Catholics to do their part in 
securing its fulfilment. And the wise and diligent culti- 
vation of the intellect is one principal means, under the 
Divine blessing, of the desired result. 


Gentlemen, the seat of this intellectual progress must 
necessarily be the great towns of Ireland ; and those 
great towns have a remarkable and happy characteristic, 
as contrasted with the cities of Catholic Europe. Abroad, 
even in Catholic countries, if there be in any part of 
their territory scepticism and insubordination in religion, 
cities are the seat of the mischief. Even Rome itself 
has its insubordinate population, and its concealed free- 
thinkers ; even Belgium, that nobly Catholic country, 
cannot boast of the religious loyalty of its great towns. 
Such a calamity is unknown to the Catholicism of Dublin, 
Cork, Belfast, and the other cities of Ireland ; for, to say 
nothing of higher and more religious causes of the dif- 
ference, the very presence of a rival religion is a per- 
petual incentive to faith and devotion in men who, from 
the circumstances of the case, would be in danger of 

Discipline of Mind. 485 

becoming worse than lax Catholics, unless they resolved 
on being zealous ones. 

Here, then, is one remarkable ground of promise in 
the future of Ireland, that that large and important class, 
members of which I am now addressing, — that the 
middle classes in its cities, which will be the depositaries 
of its increasing political power, and which elsewhere are 
opposed in their hearts to the Catholicism which they 
profess, — are here so sound in faith, and so exemplary 
in devotional exercises, and in works of piety. 

And next I would observe, that, while thus distin- 
guished for religious earnestness, the Catholic population 
is in no respect degenerate from the ancient fame of 
Ireland as regards its intellectual endowments. It too 
often happens that the religiously disposed are in the 
same degree intellectually deficient ; but the Irish ever 
have been, as their worst enemies must grant, not only a 
Catholic people, but a people of great natural abilities, 
keen-witted, original, and subtle. This has been the 
characteristic of the nation from the very early times, 
and was especially prominent in the middle ages. As 
Rome was the centre of authority, so, I may say, Ire- 
land was the native home of speculation. In this respect 
they were as remarkably contrasted to the English as they 
are now, though, in those ages, England was as devoted 
to the Holy See as it is now hostile. The Englishman 
was hard-working, plodding, bold, determined, persever- 
ing, practical, obedient to law and precedent, and, if he 
cultivated his mind, he was literary and classical rather 
than scientific, for Literature involves in it the idea of 
authority and prescription. On the other hand, in Ire- 
land, the intellect seems rather to have taken the line of 
Science, and we have various instances to show how fully 
this was recognized in those times, and with what success it 

486 Discipline of Mind. 

was carried out. "Philosopher," is in those times almost 
the name for an Irish monk. Both in Paris and Oxford, 
the two great schools of medieval thought, we find the 
boldest and most subtle of their disputants an Irishman, 
— the monk John Scotus Erigena, at Paris, and Duns 
Scotus, the Franciscan friar, at Oxford. 

Now, it is my belief. Gentlemen, that this character of 
mind remains in you still. I think I rightly recognize in 
the Irishman now, as formerly, the curious, inquisitive 
observer, the acute reasoner, the subtle speculator, I 
recognize in you talents which are fearfully mischievous, 
when used on the side of error, but which, when wielded 
by Catholic devotion, such as I am sure will ever be the 
characteristic of the Iri h disputant, are of the highest im- 
portance to Catholic interests, and especially at this day, 
when a subtle logic is used against the Church, and de- 
mands a logic still more subtle on the part of her defenders 
to expose it. 

Gentlemen, I do not expect those who, like you, are 
employed in your secular callings, who are not monks or 
friars, not priests, not theologians, not philosophers, to 
come forward as champions of the faith ; but I think 
that incalculable benefit may ensue to the Catholic cause, 
greater almost than that which even singularly gifted 
theologians or controversialists could effect, if a body of 
men in your station of life shall be found in the great towns 
of Ireland, not disputatious, contentious, loquacious, pre- 
sumptuous (of course I am not advocating inquiry for 
mere argument's sake), but gravely and solidly educated 
in Catholic knowledge, intelligent, acute, versed in their 
religion, sensitive of its beauty and majesty, alive to the 
arguments in its behalf, and aware both of its difficulties 
and of the mode of treating them. And the first step in 
attaining this desirable end is that you should submit 

Discipline of Mind. 487 

yourselves to a curriculum of studies, such as that which 
brings you with such praiseworthy diligence within these 
walls evening after evening ; and, though you may not 
be giving attention to them with this view, but from the 
laudable love of knowledge, or for the advantages which 
will accrue to you perso)ially from its pursuit, yet my 
own reason for rejoicing in the establishment of your 
classes is the same as that which led me to take part 
in the establishment of the University itself, viz., the 
wish, by increasing the intellectual force of Ireland, to 
strengthen the defences, in a day of great danger, of the 
Christian religion. 


Gentlemen, within the last thirty years, there has been, 
as you know, a great movement in behalf of the exten- 
sion of knowledge among those classes in society whom 
you represent. This movement has issued in the estab- 
lishment of what have been called Mechanics' Institutes 
through the United Kingdom ; and a new species of 
literature has been brought into existence, with a view, 
among its objects, of furnishing the members of these 
institutions with interesting and instructive reading. 1 
never will deny to that literature its due praise. It has 
been the production of men of the highest ability and 
the most distinguished station, who have not grudged, 
moreover, the trouble, and, I may say in a certain sense, 
the condescension, of presenting themselves before the 
classes for whose intellectual advancement they were 
showing so laudable a zeal ; who have not grudged, in 
the cause of Literature, History, or Science, to make a 
display, in the lecture room or the public hall, of that 
eloquence, which was, strictly speaking, the property, as 
I may call it, of Parliament, or of the august tribunals of 

488 Discipline of Mijid. 

the Law. Nor will I deny to the speaking and writing, 
to which I am referring, the merit of success, as well as 
that of talent and good intention, so far as this, — that it 
has provided a fund of innocent amusement and informa- 
tion for the leisure hours of those who might otherwise 
have been exposed to the temptation of corrupt reading 
or bad company. 

So much may be granted, — and must be granted in 
candour : but, when I go on to ask myself the question, 
what permajioit advantage the mind gets by such desul- 
tory reading and hearing, as this literary movement en- 
courages, then I find myself altogether in a new field of 
thought, and am obliged to return an answer less favour- 
able than I could wish to those who are the advocates of 
it. We must carefully distinguish, Gentlemen, between 
the mere diversion of the mind and its real education. 
Supposing, for instance, I am tempted to go into some 
society which will do me harm, and supposing, instead, I 
fall asleep in my chair, and so let the time pass by, in 
that case certainly I escape the danger, but it is as if by 
accident, and my going to sleep has not had any real 
eftect upon me, or made me more able to resist the 
temptation on some future occasion. I wake, and I am 
what I was before. The opportune sleep has but removed 
the temptation for this once. It has not made me better ; 
for I have not been shielded from temptation by any act 
of my own, but I was passive under an accident, for such 
I may call sleep. And so in like manner, if I hear a 
lecture indolently and passively, I cannot indeed be else- 
where %v]iile I am here hearing it, — but it produces no 
positive effect on my mind, — it does not tend to create 
any power in my breast capable of resisting temptation 
by its own vigour, should temptation come a second time. 

Now this is no fault, Gentlemen, of the books or the 

Discipline of Mind, 489 

lectures of the Mechanics' Institute. They could not do 
more than they do, from their very nature. They do 
their part, but their part is not enough. A man may 
hear a thousand lectures, and read a thousand volumes, 
and be at the end of the process very much where he was, 
as regards knowledge. Something more than merely 
admitting it in a negative way into the mind is necessary, 
if it is to remain there. It must not be passively received, 
but actually and actively entered into, embraced, mastered. 
The mind must go half-way to meet what comes to it 
Irom without. 

This, then, is the point in which the institutions I am 
speaking of fail ; here, on the contrary, is the advantage 
of such lectures as you are attending, Gentlemen, in our 
University. You have come, not merely to be taught, 
but to learn. You have come to exert your minds. You 
have come to make what you hear your own, by putting 
out your hand, as it were, to grasp it and appropriate it. 
You do not come merely to hear a lecture, or to read a 
book, but you come for that catechetical instruction, 
which consists in a sort of conversation between your 
lecturer and you. He tells you a thing, and he asks you 
to repeat it after him. He questions you, he examines 
you, he will not let you go till he has proof, not only that 
you have heard, but that you know. 

Gentlemen, I am induced to quote here some remarks 
of my own, which I put into print on occasion of those 
Evening Lectures, already referred to, with which we 
introduced the first terms of the University. The at- 
tendance upon them was not large, and in consequence 
we discontinued them for a time, but I attempted to ex- 
plain in print what the object of them had been ; and 

490 Discipline of Mind. 

while what I then said is pertinent to the subject I am 
now pursuing, it will be an evidence too, in addition to 
my opening remarks, of the hold which the idea of these 
Evening Lectures has had upon me. 

" I will venture to give you my thoughts," I then said, 
writing tc a friend,* "on the ^^>^/ of the Evening Public 
Lectures lately delivered in the University House, which, 
I think, has been misunderstood, 

"I can bear witness, not only to their remarkable merit 
as lectures, but also to the fact that they were very satis- 
factorily attended. Many, however, attach a vague or 
unreasonable idea to the word ' satisfactory,' and main- 
tain that no lectures can be called satisfactory which do 
not make a great deal of noise in the place, and they are 
disappointed otherwise. This is what I mean by mis- 
conceiving their object ; for such an expectation, and 
consequent regret, arise from confusing the ordinary with 
the extraordinary object of a lecture, — upon which point 
we ought to have clear and definite ideas. 

"The ordinary object of lectures is to teach ; but there 
is an object, sometimes demanding attention, and not 
incongruous, which, nevertheless, cannot be said properly 
to belong to them, or to be more than occasional. As 
there are kinds of eloquence which do not aim at any 
thing beyond their own exhibition, and are content with 
being eloquent, and with the sensation which eloquence 
creates ; so in Schools and Universities there are sea- 
sons, festive or solemn, anyhow extraordinary, when 
academical acts are not directed towards their propei 
ends, so much as intended to amuse, to astonish, and to 
attract, and thus to have an effect upon public opinion. 
Such are the exhibition days of Colleges ; such the 
annual Commemoration of Benefactors at one of the 

• University Gazette, No. 42, p. 420, 

Discipline of Mind. 491 

English Universities, when Doctors put on their gayest 
gowns, and PubHc Orators make Latin Speeches. Such, 
too, are the Terminal Lectures, at which divines of the 
greatest reputation for intellect and learning have before 
now poured forth sentences of burning eloquence into the 
ears of an audience brought together for the very sake 
of the display. The object of all such Lectures and 
Orations is to excite or to keep up an interest and rever- 
ence in the public mind for the Institutions from which the 
exhibition proceeds :" — I might have added, such are the 
lectures delivered by celebrated persons in Mechanics' 

I continue : " Such we have suitably had in the new 
University ; — such were the Inaugural Lectures. Dis- 
plays of strength and skill of this kind, in order to succeed, 
should attract attention, and if they do not attract atten- 
tion, they have failed. They do not invite an audience, 
but an attendance ; and perhaps it is hardly too much to 
say that they are intended for seeing rather than for 

" Such celebrations, however, from the nature of the 
case, must be rare. It is the novelty which brings, it is 
the excitement which recompenses, the assemblage. The 
academical body which attempts to make such extraordi- 
nary acts the normal condition of its proceedings, is 
putting itself and its Professors in a false position. 

" It is, then, a simple misconception to suppose that 
those to whom the government of our University is con- 
fided have aimed at an object, which could not be con- 
templated at all without a confusion or inadvertence, such 
as no considerate person will impute to them. Public 
lectures, delivered with such an object, could not be suc- 
cessful ; and, in consequence, our late lectures have, I 
cannot doubt (for it could not be otherwise), ended unsatis- 

492 Discipline of Mind. 

factorily in the judgment of any zealous person who has 
assumed for them an office with which their projectors 
never invested them. 

"What their object really was the very meanhig of 
academical institutions suggests to us. It is, as I said 
when I began, to teach. Lectures are, properly speaking, 
not exhibitions or exercises of art, but matters of business ; 
they profess to impart something definite to those who 
attend them, and those who attend them profess on their 
part to receive what the lecturer has to offer. It is a 
case of contract : — ' I will speak, if you will listen :' — ' I 
will come here to learn, if you have any thing worth 
teaching me.' In an oratorical display, all the effort is 
on one side ; in a lecture, it is shared between two parties, 
who co-operate towards a common end. 

" There should be ever something, on the face of the 
arrangements, to act as a memento that those who come, 
come to gain something, and not from mere curiosity. And 
in matters of fact, such were the persons who did attend, in 
the course of last term, and such as those, and no others, 
will attend. Those came who wished to gain information 
on a subject new to them, from informants whom they 
held in consideration, and regarded as authorities. It 
was impossible to survey the audience which occupied 
the lecture-room without seeing that they came on what 
may be called business. And this is why I said, when 
I began, that the attendance was satisfactory. That 
attendance is satisfactory, — not which is numerous, but 
— which is steady and persevering. But it is plain, that to 
a mere by-stander, who came merely from general in- 
terest or good will to see how things were going on, and 
who did not catch the object of advertising the Lectures, 
it would not occur to look into the faces of the audience ; 
he would think it enough to be counting their heads ; he 

Discipline of Mi7id. 493 

would do little more than obsei've whether the staircase 
and landing were full of loungers, and whether there 
was such a noise and bustle that it was impossible to 
hear a word ; and if he could get in and out of the room 
without an effort, if he could sit at his ease, and actually 
hear the lecturer, he would think he had sufficient 
grounds for considering the attendance unsatisfactory. 

" The stimulating system may easily be overdone, and 
does not answer on the long run. A blaze among the 
stubble, and then all is dark. I have seen in my time 
various instances of the way in which Lectures really 
gain upon the public ; and I must express my opinion 
that, even were it the sole object of our great under- 
taking to make a general impression upon public opinion, 
instead of that of doing definite good to definite persons, 
I should reject that method, which the University indeed 
itself has not taken, but which young and ardent minds 
may have thought the more promising. Even did I 
wish merely to get the intellect of all Dublin into our 
rooms, I should not dream of doing it all at once, but 
at length. I should not rely on sudden, startling effects, 
but on the slow, silent, penetrating, overpowering effects 
of patience, steadiness, routine, and perseverance. I 
have known individuals set themselves down in a neigh- 
bourhood where they had no advantages, and in a place 
whch had no pretensions, and upon a work which had 
little or nothing of authoritative sanction; and they have 
gone on steadily lecturing week after week, with little 
encouragement, but much resolution. For months they 
were ill attended, and overlooked in the bustle of the 
world around them. But there was a secret, gradur.l 
movement going on, and a specific force of attraction, 
and a drifting and accumulation of hearers, which at 
length made itself felt, and could not be mistaken. In 

494 Discipline of Mind. 

this stage of things, a friend said in conversation to me, 
when at the moment I knew nothing of the parties : 
' By-the-bye, if you are interested in such and such a 
subject, go by all means, and hear such a one. So and 
so does, and says there is no one like him. I looked in 
myself the other night, and was very much struck. Do 
go, you can't mistake ; he lectures every Tuesday night, or 
Wednesday, or Thursday,' as it might be. An influence 
thus gradually acquired endures ; sudden popularity 
dies away as suddenly." 

As regards ourselves, the time is passed now, Gentle- 
men, for such modesty of expectation, and such caution 
in encouragement, as these last sentences exhibit. The 
few, but diligent, attendants upon the Professors' lectures, 
with whom we began, have grown into the diligent and 
zealous many; and the speedy fulfilment of anticipations, 
which then seemed to be hazardous, surely is a call on 
us to cherish bolder hopes and to form more extended 
plans for the years which are to follow. 


You will ask me, perhaps, after these general remarks, 
to suggest to you the particular intellectual benefit which 
I conceive students have a right to require of us, and 
which we engage by means of our evening classes to pro- 
vide for them. And, in order to this, you must allow 
me to make use of an illustration, which I have hereto- 
fore employed,* and which I repeat here, because it is 
the best that I can find to convey what I wish to impress 
upon you. It is an illustration which includes in its 
application all of us, teachers as well as taught, though 
it applies of course to some more than to others, and to 
those especially who come for instruction. 

• Vid. supr. p. 231. 

Discipline of Mind. 495 

I consider, then, that the position of our minds, as far 
as they are uncultivated, towards intellectual objects, — 1 
mean of our minds, before they have been disciplined and 
formed by the action of our reason upon them, — is analo- 
gous to that of a blind man towards the objects of vision, 
at the moment when eyes are for the first time given to 
him by the skill of the operator. Then the multitude of 
things, which present themselves to the sight under a mul- 
tiplicity of shapes and hues, pour in upon him from the 
external world all at once, and are at first nothing else 
but lines and colours, without mutual connection, depend- 
ence, or contrast, without order or principle, without 
drift or meaning, and like the wrong side of a piece of 
tapestry or carpet. By degrees, by the sense of touch, 
by reaching out the hands, by walking into this maze of 
colours, by turning round in it, by accepting the princi- 
ple of perspective, by the various slow teaching of ex- 
perience, the first information of the sight is corrected, 
and what was an unintelligible wilderness becomes a land- 
scape or a scene, and is understood to consist of space, 
and of bodies variously located in space, with such con- 
sequences as thence necessarily follow. The knowledge is 
at length gained of things or objects, and of their rela- 
tion to each other ; and it is a kind of knowledge, as is 
plain, which is forced upon us all from infancy, as to the 
blind on their first seeing, by the testimony of our other 
senses, and by the very necessity of supporting life ; so 
that even the brute animals have been gifted with the 
faculty of acquiring it. 

Such is the case as regards material objects ; and it is 
much the same as regards intellectual. I mean that 
there is a vast host of matters of all kinds, which address 
themselves, not to the eye, but to our mental sense ; viz., 
all those matters of thought which, in the course of life 

496 Discipline of Mind. 

and the intercourse of society, are brought before us, 
which we hear of in conversation, which we read of in 
books ; matters political, social, ecclesiastical, literary, 
domestic ; persons, and their .doings or their writings ; 
events, and works, and undertakings, and laws, and in- 
stitutions. These make up a much more subtle and 
intricate world than that visible universe of which I was 
just now speaking. It is much more difficult in this 
world than in the material to separate things off from 
each other, and to find out how they stand related to 
each other, and to learn how to class them, and where 
to locate them respectively. Still, it is not less true 
that, as the various figures and forms in a landscape 
have each its own place, and stand in this or that direc- 
tion towards each other, so all the various objects wliich 
address the intellect have severally a substance of their 
own, and have fixed relations each of them with every- 
thing else, — relations which our minds have no power of 
creating, but which we are obliged to ascertain before 
we have a right to boast that we really know any thing 
about them. Yet, when the mind looks out for the first 
time into this manifold spiritual world, it is just as much 
confused and dazzled and distracted as are the eyes of 
the blind when they first begin to see ; and it is by a 
long process, and with much effort and anxiety, that we 
begin hardly and partially to apprehend its various con- 
tents and to put each in its proper place. 

We grow up from boyhood ; our minds open ; we go 
into the world ; we hear what men say, or read what 
t'ley put in print ; and thus a profusion of matters of all 
kinds is discharged upon us. Some sort of an idea we 
have of most of them, from hearing what others say ; 
but it is a very vague idea, probably a very mistaken 
idea. Young people, especially, because they are young. 

Discipline of Mind. 497 

C('loar the assemblage of persons and things which they 
encounter with the freshness and grace of their own 
springtide, look for all good from the reflection of theii 
own hopefulness, and worship what they have created. 
Men of ambition, again, look upon the world as a theatre 
for fame and glory, and make it that magnificent scene 
of high enterprise and august recompence which Pindar 
or Cicero has delineated. Poets, too, after their wont, 
put their ideal interpretation upon all things, material 
as well as moral, and substitute the noble for the true. 
Here are various obvious instances, suggestive of the 
discipline which is imperative, if the mind is to grasp 
things as they are, and to discriminate substances from 
shadows. For I am not concerned merely with youth, 
ambition, or poetry, but with our mental condition gene- 
rally. It is the fault of all of us, till we have duly 
practised our m.inds, to be unreal in our sentiments and 
crude in our judgments, and to be carried off by fancies, 
instead of being at the trouble of acquiring sound know- 

In consequence, when we hear opinions put forth on 
any new subject, we have no principle to guide us in 
balancing them ; we do not know what to make of them; 
we turn them to and fro, and over, and back again, as if 
to pronounce upon them, if we could, but with no means 
of pronouncing. It is the same when we attempt to 
speak upon them : we make some random venture ; or 
we take up the opinion of some one else, which strikes 
our fancy ; or perhaps, with the vaguest enunciation 
possible of any opinion at all, we are satisfied with our- 
selves if we are merely able to throw off some rounded 
sentences, to make some pointed remarks on some other 
subject, or to introduce some figure of speech, or flowers 
of rhetoric, which, instead of being the vehicle, are the 
7* 32 

498 Discipline of Mind. 

mere substitute of meaning. We wish to take a part In 
politics, and then nothing is open to us but to follow 
some person, or some party, and to learn the common- 
places and the watchwords which belong to it. We 
hear about landed interests, and mercantile interests, 
and trade, and higher and lower classes, and their rights, 
duties, and prerogatives ; and we attempt to transmit 
what we have received ; and soon our minds become 
loaded and perplexed by the incumbrance of ideas which 
we have not mastered and cannot use. We have some 
vague idea, for instance, that constitutional government 
and slavery are inconsistent with each other ; that there 
is a connection between private judgment and democracy, 
between Christianity and civilization ; we attempt to find 
arguments in proof, and our arguments are the most 
plain demonstration that we simply do not understand the 
things themselves of which we are professedly treating. 

Reflect, Gentlemen, how many disputes you must have 
listened to, which were interminable, because neither party 
understood either his opponent or himself Consider the 
fortunes of an argument in a debating society, and the 
need there so frequently is, not simply of some clear 
thinker to disentangle the perplexities of thought, but of 
capacity in the combatants to do justice to the clearest 
explanations which are set before them, — so much so, 
that the luminous arbitration only gives rise, perhaps, to 
more hopeless altercation. " Is a constitutional govern- 
ment better for a population than an absolute rule .'' " 
What a number of points have to be clearly apprehended 
before we are in a position to say one word on such a 
question ! What is meant by " constitution " ? by " con- 
stitutional government " .-' by " better " ? by " a popula- 

Discipline of Mind. 499 

tion"? and by "absolutism"? The ideas represented 
by these various words ought, I do not say, to be as per- 
fectly defined and located in the minds of the speakers 
as objects of sight in a landscape, but to be sufficiently, 
even though incompletely, apprehended, before they have 
a right to speak. " How is it that democracy can admit 
of slavery, as in ancient Greece ? " " How can Catho- 
licism flourish in a republic?" Now, a person who knows 
his ignorance will say, "These questions are beyond me;" 
and he tries to gain a clear notion and a firm hold of 
them ; and, if he speaks, it is as investigating, not as 
deciding. On the other hand, let him never have tried 
to throw things together, or to discriminate between them, 
or to denote their peculiarities, in that case he has no 
hesitation in undertaking any subject, and perhaps has 
most to say upon those questions which are most new to 
him. This is why so many men are one-sided, narrow- 
minded, prejudiced, crotchety. This is why able men 
have to change their minds and their line of action in 
middle age, and to begin life again, because they have 
followed their party, instead of having secured that faculty 
of true perception as regards intellectual objects which 
has accrued to them, without their knowing how, as re- 
gards the objects of sight. 

But this defect will never be corrected, — on the contrary, 
it will be aggravated, — by those popular institutions to 
which I referred just now. The displays of eloquence, or 
the interesting matter contained in their lectures, the 
variety of useful or entertaining knowledge contained in 
their libraries, though admirable in themselves, and advan- 
tageous to the student at a later stage of his course, never 
can serve as a substitute for methodical and laborious 
teaching. A young man of sharp and active intellect, who 
has had no other training, has little to show for it besides 

500 Discipline of Miitd. 

a litter of ideas heaped up into his mind anyhow. He 
can utter a number of truths or sophisms, as the case 
may be, and one is as good to him as another. He is up 
with a number of doctrines and a number of facts, but 
they are all loose and straggling, for he has no principles 
set up in his mind round which to aggregate and locate 
them. He can say a word or two on half a dozen sciences, 
but not a dozen words on any one. He says one thing 
now, and another thing presently; and when he attempts 
to write down distinctly what he holds upon a point in 
dispute, or what he understands by its terms, he breaks 
down, and is surprised at his failure. He sees objections 
more clearly than truths, and can ask a thousand ques- 
tions which the wisest of men cannot answer ; and withal, 
he has a very good opinion of himself, and is well satis- 
fied with his attainments, and he declares against others, 
as opposed to the spread of knowledge altogether, who 
do not happen to adopt his ways of furthering it, or the 
opinions in which he considers it to result. 

This is that barren mockery of knowledge which comes 
of attending on great Lecturers, or of mere acquaintance 
with reviews, magazines, newspapers, and other literature 
of the day, which, however able and valuable in itself, is 
>ot the instrument of intellectual education. If this is 
all the training a man has, the chance is that, when a i^^ 
years have passed over his head, and he has talked to the 
full, he wearies of talking, and of the subjects on which 
he talked. He gives up the pursuit of knowledge, and 
forgets what he knew, whatever it was ; and, taking 
things at their best, his mind is in no very different con- 
dition from what it was when he first began to improve 
it, as he hoped, though perhaps he never thought of more 
than of amusing himself. I say, " at the best," for per- 
haps he will suffer from exhaustion and a distaste of the 

Discipline of Mind. 501 

subjects which once pleased him ; or perhaps he has 
suffered some real intellectual mischief ; perhaps he has 
contracted some serious disorder, he has admitted some 
taint of scepticism, which he will never get rid of. 

And here we see what is meant by the poet's maxim, 
"A little learning is a dangerous thing." Not that 
knowledge, little or much, if it be real knowledge, is 
dangerous ; but that many a man considers a mere hazy 
view of many things to be real knowledge, whereas it 
does but mislead, just as a short-sighted man sees only 
so far as to be led by his uncertain sight over the 

Such, then, being true cultivation of mind, and such the 
literary institutions which do not tend to it, I might pro- 
ceed to show you, Gentlemen, did time admit, how, on 
the other hand, that kind of instruction of which our 
Evening Classes are a specimen, is especially suited to 
effect what they propose. Consider, for instance, what 
a discipline in accuracy of thought it is to have to con- 
strue a foreign language into your own ; what a still 
severer and more improving exercise it is to translate 
from your own into a foreign language. Consider, again, 
what a lesson in memory and discrimination it is to get 
up, as it is called, any one chapter of history. Consider 
what a trial of acuteness, caution, and exactness, it is to 
master, and still more to prove, a number of definitions. 
Again, what an exercise in logic is classification, what 
an exercise in logical precision it is to understand and 
enunciate the proof of any of the more difficult pro- 
positions of Euclid, or to master any one of the great 
arguments for Christianity so thoroughly as to bear ex- 
amination upon it ; or, again, to analyze sufficiently, yet 
in as few words as possible, a speech, or to draw up a 
critique upon a poem. And so of any other science, — 

502 Discipline of Mind. 

chemistry, or comparative anatomy, or natural history ; 
it does not matter what it is, if it be really studied and 
mastered, as far as it is taken up. The result is a forma- 
tion of mind, — that is, a habit of order and system, a 
habit of referring every accession of knowledge to what 
we already know, and of adjusting the one with the 
other ; and, moreover, as such a habit implies, the actual 
acceptance and use of certain principles as centres of 
thought, around which our knowledge grows and is 
located. Where this critical faculty exists, history is no 
longer a mere story-book, or biography a romance ; 
orators and publications of the day are no longer in- 
fallible authorities ; eloquent diction is no longer a 
substitute for matter, nor bold statements, or lively 
descriptions, a substitute for proof. This is that faculty 
of perception in intellectual matters, which, as I have 
said so often, is analogous to the capacity we all have of 
mastering the multitude of lines and colours which pour 
in upon our eyes, and of deciding what every one of 
them is worth. 


But I should be transgressing the limits assigned to 
an address of this nature were I to proceed. I have 
not said any thing, Gentlemen, on the religious duties 
which become the members of a Catholic University, 
because we are directly concerned here with your studies 
only. It is my consolation to know that so many of you 
belong to a Society or Association, which the zeal of 
some excellent priests, one especially, has been so in- 
strumental in establishing in your great towns. You 
do not come to us to have the foundation laid in your 
breasts of that knowledge which is highest of all : it has 
been laid already. You have begun your mental train- 

Discipline of Mind. 503 

ing with faith and devotion ; and then you come to us 
to add the education of the intellect to the education of 
the heart. Go on as you have begun, and you will be 
one of the proudest achievements of our great under- 
taking. We shall be able to point to you in proof that 
zeal for knowledge may thrive even under the pressure 
of secular callings ; that mother-wit does not necessarily 
make a man idle, nor inquisitiveness of mind irreverent ; 
that shrewdness and cleverness are not incompatible 
with firm faith in the mysteries of Revelation ; that 
attainment in Literature and Science need not make 
men conceited, nor above their station, nor restless, nor 
self-willed. We shall be able to point to you in proof 
of the power of Catholicism to make out of the staple of 
great towns exemplary and enlightened Christians, — of 
those classes which, external to Ireland, are the problem 
and perplexity of patriotic statesmen, and the natural 
opponents of the teachers of every kind of religion. 

As to myself, I wish I could by actual service and 
hard work of my own respond to your zeal, as so many 
of my dear and excellent friends, the Professors of the 
University, have done and do. They h ive a merit, they 
have a claim on you, Gentlemen, in which I have no 
part. If I admire the energy and bravery with which 
you have undertaken the work of self-improvement, be 
sure I do not forget their public spir.t and noble free 
devotion to the Univers ty any more than you do. I 
know I should not satisfy you with any praise of this 
supplement of our academical arrangements which did 
not include those who give to it its life. It is a very 
pleasant and encouraging sight to see both parties, the 
teachers and the taught, co-operating with a pure esprit- 
de-corps thus voluntarily, — they as fully as you can do, — 

504 Discipline of Mind. 

for a great object ; and I offer up my earnest prayers to 
the Author of all good, that He will ever bestow on you 
all, on Professors and on Students, as I feel sure He will 
bestow, Rulers and Superiors, who, by their zeal and 
diligence in their own place, shall prove themselves 
worthy both of your cause and of yourselves. 





I HAVE had so few opportunities, Gentlemen, of ad- 
dressing you, and our present meeting is of so interest- 
ing and pleasing a character, by reason of the object 
which occasions it, that I am encouraged to speak freely 
to you, though I do not know you personally, on a sub- 
ject which, as you may conceive, is often before my own 
mind : I mean, the exact relation in which your noble 
profession stands towards the Catholic University itself 
and towards Catholicism generally. Considering' my 
own most responsible office as Rector, my vocation as 
an ecclesiastic, and then again my years, which increase 
my present claim, and diminish my future chances, of 
speaking to you, I need make no apology, I am sure, 
for a step, which will be recommended to you by my 
good intentions, even though it deserves no consideration 
on the score of the reflections and suggestions themselves 
which I shall bring before you. If indeed this Univer- 
sity, and its Faculty of Medicine inclusively, were set up 
for the promotion of any merely secular object, — in the 
spirit of religious rivalry, as a measure of party politics, 
or as a commercial speculation, — then indeed I should 

5o6 Christianity and Medical Science. 

be out of place, not only in addressing you in the tone 
of advice, but in being here at all ; for what reason could 
I in that case have had for having now given some of 
the most valuable years of my life to this University, 
lor having placed it foremost in my thoughts and anxie- 
ties, — (I had well nigh said) to the prejudice of prior, 
dearer, and more sacred tics, — except that I felt that 
the hi^diest and most special religious interests were 
bound up in its establishment and in its success? Suffer 
me, then, Gentlemen, if with these views and feelings I 
conform my observations to the sacred building in which 
we find ourselves, and if I speak to you for a few minutes 
as if I were rather addressing you authoritatively from 
the pulpit than in the Rector's chair. 

Now I am going to set before you, in as few words as 
I can, what I conceive to be the principal duty of the 
Medical Profession towards Religion, and some of the 
difficulties which are found in the observance of that 
duty : and in speaking on the subject I am conscious 
how little qualified I am to handle it in such a way as 
will come home to your minds, from that want of ac- 
quaintance with you personally, to which I have alluded, 
and from my necessary ignorance of the influences of 
wiiatever kind which actually surround you, and the 
points of detail which are likely to be your religious em- 
barrassments. I can but lay down principles and maxims, 
which you must apply for yourselves, and which in some 
respects or cases you may feel have no true applicatior 
at all. 


All professions have their dangers, all general truths 
have their fallacies, all spheres of action have their limits, 
and are liable to improper extension or alteration. Every 

Christianity and Medical Scieiice. 507 

professional man has rightly a zeal for his profession, 
and he would not do his duty towards it without that 
zeal. And that zeal soon becomes exclusive, or rather 
necessarily involves a sort of exclusiveness. A zealous 
professional man soon comes to think that his profession 
is all in all, and that the world would not go on without 
it. We have heard, for instance, a great deal lately in 
regard to the war in India, of political views suggesting 
one plan of campaign, and military views suggesting 
another. How hard it must be for the military man to 
forego his own strategical dispositions, not on the ground 
that they are not the best, — not that they are not ac- 
knowledged by those who nevertheless put them aside 
to be the best for the object of military success, — but 
because military success is not the highest of objects, 
and the end of ends, — because it is not the sovereign 
science, but must ever be subordinate to political con- 
siderations or maxims of government, which is a higher 
science with higher objects, — and that therefore his sure 
success on the field must be relinquished because the 
interests of the council and the cabinet require the sac- 
rifice, that the war must yield to the statesman's craft, the 
commander-in-chief to the governor-general. Yet what 
the soldier feels is natural, and what the statesman does 
is just. This collision, this desire on the part of every 
profession to be supreme, — this necessary, though reluc- 
tant, subordination of the one to the other, — is a process 
ever going on, ever acted out before our eyes. The 
civilian is in rivalry with the soldier, the soldier with the 
civilian. The diplomatist, the lawyer, the political econo- 
mist, the merchant, each wishes to usurp the powers of 
the state, and to mould society upon the principles of 
his own pursuit. 

Nor do they confine themselves to the mere province of 

5o8 Christianity and Medical Science. 

secular matters. They intrude into the province of Re- 
hgion. In England, in the reign of Queen Ehzabeth, law- 
yers got hold of religion, and never have let it go. Abroad, 
bureaucracy keeps hold of Religion with a more or less 
firm grasp. The circles of literature and science have 
in like manner before now made Religion a mere province 
of their universal empire. 

I remark, moreover, that these various usurpations are 
frequently made in perfectly good faith. There is no 
intention of encroachment on the part of the encroachers. 
The commander recommends what with all his heart and 
soul he thinks best for his country when he presses on 
Government a certain plan of campaign. The political 
economist has the most honest intentions of improving 
the Christian system of social duty by his reforms. The 
statesman may have the best and most loyal dispositions 
towards the Holy See, at the time that he is urging 
changes in ecclesiastical discipline which would be 
seriously detrimental to the Church. 

And now I will say how this applies to the Medical 
Profession, and what is its special danger, viewed in re- 
lation to Catholicity. 


Its province is the physical nature of man, and its 
object is the preservation of that physical nature in its 
proper state, and its restoration when it has lost it. It 
limits itself, by its very profession, to the health of the 
body ; it ascertains the conditions of that health ; it 
analyzes the causes of its interruption or failure ; it seeks 
about for the means of cure. But, after all, bod Jy health 
is not the only end of man, and the medical science is 
not the highest science of which he is the subject. Man 
has a moral and a religious nature, as well as a physical. 

Christianity and Medical Science. 509 

He has a mind and a soul ; and the mind and soul have 
a legitimate sovereignty over the body, and the sciences 
relating to them have in consequence the precedence 
of those sciences which relate to the body. And as the 
soldier must yield to the statesman, when they come into 
collision with each other, so must the medical man to the 
priest ; not that the medical man may not be enunciating 
what is absolutely certain, in a medical point of view, 
as the commander may be perfectly right in what he 
enunciates strategically, but that his action is suspended 
in the given case by the interests and duty of a superior 
science, and he retires not confuted but superseded. 

Now this general principle thus stated, all will admit : 
who will deny that health must give way to duty ? So 
far there is no perplexity: supposing a fever to break 
out in a certain place, and the medical practitioner said 
to a Sister of Chanty who was visiting the sick there, 
" You will die to a certainty if you remain there," and 
her ecclesiastical superiors on the contrary said, " You 
have devoted your life to such services, and there you 
must stay ; " and supposing she stayed and was taken 
off; the medical adviser would be right, but who would 
say that the Religious Sister was wrong ? She did not 
doubt his word, but she denied the importance of that 
word, compared with the word of her religious superiors. 
The medical man was right, yet he could not gain his 
point. He was right in what he said, he said what was 
true, yet he had to give way. 

Here we are approaching what I conceive to be the 
especial temptation and danger to which the medical 
profession is exposed : it is a certain sophism of the in- 
tellect, founded on this maxim, implied, but not spoken 
or even recognized — " What is true is lawful." Not so. 
Observe, here is the fallacy, — What is true in one science 

5 lO Chrisiianity and Medical Science. 

is dictated to us indeed according to that science, but 
not according to another science, or in another depart- 
ment. What is certain in the mihtary art has force in 
the mihtary art, but not in statesmanship; and if states- 
manship be a higher department of action than war, and 
enjoins the contrary, it has no claim on our reception and 
obedience at all. And so what is true in medical science 
might in all cases be carried out, were man a mere 
animal or brute without a soul ; but since he is a rational, 
responsible being, a thing may be ever so true in medicine, 
yet may be unlawful in fact, in consequence of the higher 
law of morals and religion having come to some different 
conclusion. Now I must be allowed some few words to 
express, or rather to suggest, more fully what I mean. 

The whole universe comes from the good God. It is 
His creation ; it\s good ; it is all good, as being the work 
of the Good, though good only in its degree, and not after 
His Infinite Perfection. The physical nature of man is 
good ; nor can there be any thing sinful in itself in acting 
according to that nature. Every natural appetite or func- 
tion is lawful, speaking abstractedly. No natural feeling 
or act is in itself sinful. There can be no doubt of all 
this ; and there can be no doubt that science can deter- 
mine what is natural, what tends to the preservation of 
a healthy state of nature, and what on the contrary is 
injurious to nature. Thus the medical student has a vast 
field of knowledge spread out before him, true, because 
knowledge, and innocent, because true. 

So much in the abstract — but when we come to fact, 
it may easily happen that what is in itself innocent may 
not be innocent to this or that person, or in this or that 
mode or degree. Again, it may easily happen that the 
impressions made on a man's mind by his own science 
may be indefinitely more vivid and operative than the 

Christianity and Medical Science. 5 1 1 

enunciations of truths belonging to some other branch of 
knowledge, which strike indeed his ear, but do not come 
home to him, are not fixed in his memory, are not im- 
printed on his imagination. And in the profession before 
us, a medical student may realize far more powerfully and 
habitually that certain acts are advisable in themselves 
according to the law of physical nature, than the fact that 
they are forbidden according to the law of some higher 
science, as theology ; or again, that they are accidentally 
wrong, as being, though lawful in themselves, wrong in 
this or that individual, or under the circumstances of the 

Now to recur to the instance I have already given : it 
is supposable that that Sister of Charity, who, for the 
sake of her soul, would not obey the law of self-preserva- 
tion as regards her body, might cause her medical adviser 
great irritation and disgust. His own particular profes- 
sion might have so engrossed his mind, and the truth of 
its maxims have so penetrated it, that he could not 
understand or admit any other or any higher system. 
He might in process of time have become simply dead 
to all religious truths, because such truths were not present 
to him, and those of his own science were ever present. 
And observe, his fault would be, not that of taking error 
for truth, for what he relied on was truth — but in not 
understanding that there were other truths, and those 
higher than his own. 

Take another case, in which there will often in parti- 
cular circumstances be considerable differences of opinion 
among really religious men, but which does not cease on 
that account to illustrate the point I am insisting on. A 
patient is dying : the priest wishes to be introduced, lest 
he should die without due preparation : the medical man 
says that the thought of religion will disturb his mind 

512 Cln istianity and Medical Science. 

and imperil his recovery. Now in the particular case, 
the one party or the other may be right in urging his 
own view of what ought to be done. I am merely 
directing attention to the principle involved in it. Here 
are the representatives of two great sciences, Religion 
and Medicine. Each says what is true in his own science, 
each will think he has a right to insist on seeing that the 
truth which he himself is maintaining is carried out in 
action ; whereas, one of the two sciences is above the 
other, and the end of Religion is indefinitely higher than 
the end of Medicine. And, however the decision ought 
to go, in the particular case, as to introducing the subject 
of religion or not, I think the priest ought to hare that 
decision ; just as a Governor-General, not a Commander- 
in-Chief, would have the ultimate decision, were politics 
and strategics to come into collision. 

You will easily understand. Gentlemen, that I dare 
not pursue my subject into those details, which are of 
the greater importance for the very reason that they 
cannot be spoken of. A medical philosopher, who has 
so simply fixed his intellect on his own science as to have 
forgotten the existence of any other, will view man, who 
is the subject of his contemplation, as a being who has 
little more to do than to be born, to grow, to eat, to drink, 
to walk, to reproduce his kind, and to die. He sees him 
born as other animals are born ; he sees life leave him, 
with all those phenomena of annihilation which accom- 
pany the death of a brute. He compares his structure, 
his organs, his functions, with those of other animals, 
and his own range of science leads to the discovery of no 
facts which are sufficient to convince him that there is 
any difierence in kind between the human animal and 
them. His practice, then, is according to his facts and 
his theory. Such a person will think himself free to give 

Christianity and Medical Science, 513 

advice, and to insist upon rules, which are quite insuffer- 
able to any religious mind, and simply antagonistic to 
faith and morals. It is not, I repeat, that he says what 
is untrue, supposing that man w^r^an animal and nothing 
else : but he thinks that whatever is true in his own 
science is at once lawful in practice — as if there were not 
a number of rival sciences in the great circle of philosophy, 
as if there were not a number of conflicting views and 
objects in human nature to be taken into account and 
reconciled, or as if it were his duty to forget all but his 
own ; whercELS 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 

I have known in England the most detestable advice 
given to young persons by eminent physicians, in con- 
sequence of this contracted view of man and his destinies. 
God forbid that I should measure the professional habits 
of Catholics by the rules of practice of those who were 
not ! but it is plain that what is actually carried out 
where religion is not known, exists as a temptation and 
a danger in the Science of Medicine itself, where religion 
is known ever so weli. 


And now, having suggested, as far as I dare, what I 
consider the consequences of that radical sophism to 
which the medical profession is exposed, let me go on to 
say in what way it is corrected by the action of Catho- 
licism upon it. 

You will observe, then. Gentlemen, that those higher 

sciences of which I have spoken. Morals and Religion, 

are not represented to the intelligence of the world by 

intimations and notices strong and obvious, such as those 

1- 33 

5 14 Christianity and Medical Science 

which are the foundation of Physical Science. The 
physical nature lies before us, patent to the sight, ready 
to the touch, appealing to the senses in so unequivocal a 
way that the science which is founded upon it is as 
real to us as the fact of our personal existence. But 
the phenomena, which are the basis of morals and Reli- 
gion, have nothing of this luminous evidence. Instead 
of being obtruded upon our notice, so that we cannot 
possibly overlook them, they are the dictates either of 
Conscience or of Faith. They are faint shadows and 
tracings, certain indeed, but delicate, fragile, and almost 
evanescent, which the mind recognizes at one time, not 
at another, — discerns when it is calm, loses when it is in 
agitation. The reflection of sky and mountains in the 
lake is a proof that sky and mountains are around it, 
but the twilight, or the mist, or the sudden storm hurries 
away the beautiful image, which leaves behind it no 
memorial of what it was. Something like this are the 
Moral Law and the informations of Faith, as they pre- 
sent themselves to individual minds. Who can deny 
the existence of Conscience .? who does not feel the force 
of its injunctions.' but how dim is the illumination in 
which it is invested, and how feeble its influence, com- 
pared with that evidence of sight and touch which is the 
foundation of Physical Science ! How easily can we be 
talked out of our clearest views of duty ! how does this 
or that moral precept crumble into nothing when we 
rudely handle it ! how does the fear of sin pass ofl" from 
us, as quickly as the glow of modesty dies away from 
the countenance ! and then we say, " It is all supersti- 
tion." However, after a time we look round, and then 
to our surprise we see, as before, the same law of duty, 
the same moral precepts, the same protests against sin, 
appearing over against us, in their old places, as if they 

Christianity and Medical Science. 5 i 5 

never had been brushed away, like the divine handwriting 
upon the wall at the banquet. Then perhaps we ap- 
proach them rudely, and inspect them irreverently, and 
accost them sceptically, and away they go again, like so 
many spectres, — shining in their cold beauty, but not 
presenting themselves bodily to us, for our inspection, so 
to say, of their hands and their feet. And thus these 
awful, supernatural, bright, majestic, delicate apparitions, 
much as we may in our hearts acknowledge their sove- 
reignty, are no match as a foundation of Science for 
the hard, palpable, material facts which make up the 
province of Physics. Recurring to my original illus- 
tration, it is as if the India Commander-in-Chief, instead of 
being under the control of a local seat of government at 
Calcutta, were governed simply from London, or from 
the moon. In that case, he would be under a strong 
temptation to neglect the home government, which 
nevertheless in theory he acknowledged. Such, I say, 
is the natural condition of mankind : — -we depend upon 
a seat of government which is in another world ; we are 
directed and governed by intimations from above ; we 
need a local government on earth. 

That great institution, then, the Catholic Church, has 
been set up by Divine Mercy, as a present, visible anta- 
gonist, and the only possible antagonist, to sight and 
sense. Conscience, reason, good feeling, the instincts of 
our moral nature, the traditions of Faith, the conclusions 
and deductions of philosophical Religion, are no match 
at all for the stubborn facts (for they are facts, though 
there are other facts besides them), for the facts, which 
are the foundation of physical, and in particular of medi- 
,cal, science. Gentlemen, if you feel, as you must feel, 
the whisper of a law of moral truth within you, and the 
impulse to believe, be sure there is nothing whatever on 

5i6 Christianity and Medical Science. 

earth which can be the sufficient champion of these 
sovereign authorities of your soul, which can vindicate 
and preserve them to you, and make you loyal to thern, 
but the Catholic Church. You fear they will go, you 
see with dismay that they are going, under the continual 
impression created on your mind by the details of the 
material science to which you have devoted your lives. 
It is so — I do not deny it ; except under rare and happy 
circumstances, go they will, unless you have Catholicism 
to back you up in keeping faithful to them. The world 
is a rough antagonist of spiritual truth : som.etimes with 
mailed hand, sometimes with pertinacious logic, some- 
times with a storm of irresistible facts, it presses on 
against you. What it says is true perhaps as far as it 
goes, but it is not the whole truth, or the most important 
truth. These more important truths, which the natural 
heart admits in their substance, though it cannot main- 
tain, — the being of a God, the certainty of future retri- 
bution, the claims of the moral law, the reality of sin, 
the hope of supernatural help, — of these the Church is in 
matter of fact the undaunted and the only deiender. 

Even those who do not look on her as divine must 
grant as much as this. I do not ask you for more here 
than to contemplate and recognize her as a fact, — as 
other things are facts. She has been eighteen hundred 
years in the world, and all that time she has been doing 
battle in the boldest, most obstinate way in the cause of 
the human race, in maintenance of the undeniable but 
comparatively obscure truths of Religion. She is always 
alive, always on the alert, when any enemy whatever 
attacks them. She has brought them through a thou- 
sand perils. Sometimes preaching, sometimes pleading, 
sometimes arguing, — sometimes exposing her ministers 
to death, and sometimes, though rarely, inflicting blows 

Christianity and Medical Science. 5 1 7 

herself, — by peremptory deeds, by patient concessions, — 
she has fought on and fulfilled her trust. No wonder 
so many spuak against her, for she deserves it ; she has 
earned the hatred and obloquy of her opponents by her 
success in opposing them. Those even who speak against 
her in this day, own that she was of use in a former day. 
The historians in fashion with us just now, much as they 
may disown her in their own country, where she is an 
actual, present, unpleasant, inconvenient monitor, ac- 
knowledge that, in the middle ages which are gone, in 
her were loJged, by her were saved, the fortunes and 
the hopes of the human race. The very characteristics 
of her discipline, the very maxims of her policy, which 
they reprobate now, they perceive to have been of ser- 
vice then. They understand, and candidly avow, that 
once she was the patron of the arts, the home and sanc- 
tuary of letters, the basis of law, the principle of order 
and government, and the saviour of Christianity itself. 
They judge clearly enough in the case of others, though 
they are slow to see the fact in their own age and coun- 
try ; and, while they do not like to be regulated by her, 
and kept in order by her, themselves, they are very well 
satisfied that the populations of those former centuries 
should have been so ruled, and tamed, and taught by 
her resolute and wise teaching. And be sure of this, 
that as the generation now alive admits these benefits 
to have arisen from her presence in a state of society 
now gone by, so in turn, when the interests and pas- 
sions of this day are passed away, will future generations 
ascribe to her a like special beneficial action upon this 
nineteenth century in which we live. For she is ever 
the same, — ever young and vigorous, and ever overcom- 
ing new errors with the old weapons. 

5 1 8 Christianity and Medical Scie?ice. 


And now I have explained, Gentlemen, why it has 
been so highly expedient and desirable in a country like 
this to bring the Faculty of Medicine under the shadow 
of the Catholic Church. I say "in a country like this;" 
for, if there be any country which deserves that Science 
should not run wild, like a planet broken loose from its 
celestial system, it is a country which can boast of such 
hereditary faith, of such a persevering confessorship, of 
such an accumulation of good works, of such a glorious 
name, as Ireland. Far be it from this country, far be it 
from the counsels of Divine Mercy, that it should grow 
in knowledge and not grow in religion ! and Catholicism 
is the strength of Religion, as Science and System are 
the strength of Knowledge. 

Aspirations such as these are met. Gentlemen, I am 
well aware, by a responsive feeling in your own hearts ; 
but by my putting them into words, thoughts which 
already exist within you are brought into livelier exercise, 
and sentiments which exist in many breasts hold inter- 
communion with each other. Gentlemen, it will be your 
high office to be the links in your generation between 
Religion and Science. Return thanks to the Author of 
all good that He has chosen you for this work. Trust 
the Church of God implicitly, even when your natural 
judgment would take a different course from hers, and 
would induce you to question her prudence or her correct- 
ness. Recollect what a hard task she has ; how she is 
sure to be criticized and spoken against, whatever she 
does ; — recollect how much she needs your loyal and 
tender devotion. Recollect, too, how long is the experi- 
ence gained in eighteen hundred years, and what a right 
she has to claim your assent to principles which have 

Christianity and Medical Science. 5 1 9 

had so extended and so triumphant a trial. Thank her 
that she has kept the faith safe for so many generations, 
and do your part in helping her to transmit it to genera- 
tions after you. 

For me, if it has been given me to have any share in 
so great a work, I shall rejoice with a joy, not such indeed 
as I should feel were I myself a native of this generous 
land, but with a joy of my own, not the less pure, because 
I have exerted myself for that which concerns others 
more nearly than myself. I have had no other motive, 
as far as I know myself, than to attempt, according to 
my strength, some service to the cause of Religion, and 
to be the servant of those to whom as a nation the whole 
of Christendom is so deeply indebted ; and though this 
University, and the Faculty of Medicine which belongs 
to it, are as yet only in the commencement of their long 
career of usefulness, yet while I live, and (I trust) after 
life, it will ever be a theme of thankfulness for my heart 
and my lips, that I have been allowed to do even a little, 
and to witness so much, of the arduous, pleasant, and 
hopeful toil which has attended on their establishment. 


Note on Page 478. 

I THINK it worth while, in illustration of what I have 
said above at the page specified, to append the fol- 
lowing passage from Grandorgaeus's catalogue of Mura- 
tori's works. 

"SanctissimusD.N. Benedictus xiv, Pont. Max. Epis- 
tolam sapientiae ac roboris plenam dederat. . . ad 
Episcopum Terulensem Hispaniae Inquisitionis Majorem 
Inquisitorem, qua ilium hortabatur, ut 'Historiam Pela- 
gianam et dissertationem, etc.,' editas i clarae memoriae 
Henrico Cardinali Norisio, in Indicem Expurgatorium 
Hispanum nuper ingestas, perinde ac si aliquid Baia- 
nismi aut Jansenismi redolerent, prout auctor ' Bibliothecas 
Jansenisticae' immerito autumavit, quamprimum expun- 
gendas curaret. Eoque nomine Sapientissimus Pontifex 
plura in medium attulit prudentis ceconomis exempla, 
qua semper usum, supremum S. R. Con^r. Indicis Tribu- 
nal, a proscribendis virorum doctissimorum operibus 
ahquando temperavit. 

" Quum autem summus Pontifex, ea inter nomina 
illustria Tillemontii, Bollandistarum, Bossueti Ep. Meld., 
et illud recensuerit L. A. Muratorii, his ad Auctorem 
nostrum delatis, quam maxim^ indoluit, veritus ne in 
tanta operum copia ab se editorum, aliquid Fidei aut 
Religioni minus consonum sibi excidisset. . . 

"Verum clementissimus Pontifex, ne animum despon- 
deret doctus et humilis filius, perhumaniter ad ipsum 
rescripsit. . . eumque patern^ consolatus, inter alia ha;c 

Note on Page 478. 521 

habct : ' Quanto si era detto nella nostra Lettera all' 
Inquisitore di Spagna in ordine alle di Lei Opere, non 
aveva che fare con la materia delle Feste, ne con verun 
dogma o disciplina. II contenuto delle Opere chi qui 
non h piaciuto (ne che Ella poteva mai lusingarsi che 
iosse per piacere), riguarda la Giurisdizione Temporale 
del Romano Pontifice ne' suoi stati,' *' etc. (pp. Ix., Ixi). 


Abelard, 96, age of, 2'5j 

Accomplishments not education, 144 

Addison, his Vision of Mirza, 279 ; his care in writing, 284 ; the child ol 

the Revolution, 312, 329 
iEschylus, 258 
Alcuin, 17 
Aldhelm, St., 17 

Alexander the Great, his delight i 1 Homer, 258 ; conquests of, 264 
Anaxagoras, 116 
Andes, the, 136 

Animuccia and St. Philip Neri, 237 
Apollo Belvidere, the, 283 
Aquinas, St. Thomas, 134, 263, 384 
Arcesilas, loi 
Architecture, 81 

Arian argument against our Lord's Divinity, 95 
Ariosto, 316 

Aristotelic philosophy, the, 52 
Aristotle, xii., 6, 53; quoted, 78, lor, ro6, 109, 134, 222, 275; his sketch 

of the magnanimous man, 280, 383, 431, 469 
Athens, the fountain of secular knowledge, 264 
Augustine, St., of Canterbury, mission of, 16 
Augustine, St., of Hippo, quoted, 410 

Bacci's Life of St. Philip Neri, quoted, 236 

Bacon, Friar, xiii., 220 

Baconian philosophy, the, 109 

Bacon, Lord, quoted, 77, 90, 117-119, 175, 221, 225, 263, 319, 437 

Balaam, 66 

Beethoven, 286, 313 

Bentham's Preuves Judiciaires, 96 

Berkeley, Bishop, on Gothic Architecture, 81 

Boccaccio, 316 

Boniface, St., 220 

Borromeo, St. Carlo, enjoins the use of some of tlie Latin classics, 261 j on 

preaching, 406, 412, 414, 421 
Bossuet and Bishop Bull, 7 

Brougham. Lord, his Discourse at Glasgow, quoted, 30, 34-35 
Bnitus, abandoned by philosophy, 116 
Burke, Edmund, 1 76 ; his valediction to the spirit of chivalry, 20I 

524 Index. 

Burman, 140 

Butler, Bishop, his Analogy, 61, loo, 158, 226 

Byron, Ix)rd, his versification, 326 

Caietan, St., 235 

Campbell, Thomas, 322, 326 

Carneades, 106 

Cato the elder, his opposition to the Greek philosophy, 106 

Catullus, 325 

Chinese civilization, 252 

Christianity and Letters, 249 

Chrysostom. St., on Judas, 86 

Cicero, quoted, 77 ; on the pursuit of knowledge, 104, 1 16, 260; style of, 

281, 282, 327 ; quoted, 399 ; his orations against Verres, 421 
Civilization and Christianity, 255 
Clarendon, Lord, 31 1 
Colours, combination of, loO 
" Condescension," two senses of, 205 

Copleston, Dr., Bishop of Llandaff, 157 ; quoted, 167-169 
Corinthian brass, 175 
Cowper, quoted, 191, 467 

Crabbe, his 7 ales of the Hall, 150 ; his versification, 326 
Craik, Dr. G. L., his Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, quoted, 103. 


Dante, 316, 329 

Davison, John, 158 ; on Liberal Education, 169-177 

Definiteness, the life of preaching, 426 

'Hemosthenes, 259, 284 

Descartes, 315 

jjumesnil's Synonymes, 368 

Du Pin's Ecclesiastical History, 140 

Edgeworth, Mr., on Professional Education, 15S, 170, 176 

Edinburgh, 154 

Edinburgh Review, the, 153, 157, 160, 301, 329 

Edward IL, King of England, vow at his flight from Bannockbum, 155 

Elmsley, xiv. 

Epicurus, 40 

Euclid's Elements, 274, 313, 501 

Euripides, 258 

Fenelon, on the Gothic style of Architecture, 82 

Fontaine, La, his immoral Contes, 315 

Fouque, Lamotte, his tale of the Unknown Patient, 1 19 

Fra Angelico, 2S7 

Franklin, 304 

Frederick IL, 383, 384 

Galen, 222 

Gentleman, the true, defined, 208 

Gerdil, Cardinal, quoted, xiii., on the Emperor Julian, 191 ; on Ma!e- 
branche, 477 

Index. 525 

Giannone, 316 

Gibbon, on the darkness at the Passion, 95 ; his hatred of Christianity, 
195? 196 ; his care in writing, 285 ; influence of his style on the litera- 
ture of the pres.nt day, 323 ; his tiibute to Hume and Robertson, 325 

Goethe, 134 

Gothic Architecture, 82 

Grammar, 96, 334 

Gregory the Great, St., 260 

Hardouin, Father, on Latin literature, 310 
Health, 164 

Herodotus, 284, 325, 329 
Hobbes, 311 

Homer, his address to the Delian women, 257 ; his best descriptions, accord- 
ing to Sterne, maiTed by translation, 271 
Hooker, 311 

Horace, quoted, 257, 258, 329 
Home Tooke, 96 
Hume, 40, 58 ; style of 325 
Humility, 206 
Huss, 155 

Jacob's courtship, 232 

Jeffrey, Lord, 157. 

Jerome, St., on idolizing the creature, 87 

Jerusalem, the fountain-head of religious knowledge, 264 

Ignatius, St. 235 

Job, religious merry-makings of, 232 ; Book of, 289 

John, King, 383 

John of Salisbury, 262 

Johnson, Dr., his method of writing the Ramblers, xx. ; his vigour and 
resource of intellect, xxi. ; his definition of the word Cniversity 20; his 
Rasselas quoted, 116-117; style of, 283 ; his Table-talk, 313; his bias 
towards Catholicity, 319 ; his definition of Grammar, 334 

Joseph, history of, 271 

Isaac, feast at his weaning, 232 

Isocrates, 282 

Julian the Apostate, 194 

Justinian, 265 

Juvenal, 325 

Keble, John, 1 58 ; his Latin Lectures, 369 

Knowledge, its own end, 99 ; viewed in relation to learning, 124; to pro- 
fessional skill, 151 ; to religion, 179 

Lalanne, Abbe, 9 

Leo, St., on the love of gain, 87 

Literature, 268 

Locke, on Education, 1 58- 160, 163, 319. 

Logos, 276 

Lohner, Father, his story of a court-preacher, 411 

Longinus, his admiration of the Mosaic accomit of Creation, 271 

Lutheran leaven, spread of the, 28 

526 Index, 

Macaulay, Lord, his Essay on Bacon's philosophy, 1 18, 221 ; his Essays 

quoted, 301, 435-438, 45° 
Machiavel, 316 
Malebranche, 477 

Maltby, Dr., bishop of Durham, his Address to the Deity, 33, 40 
Michael Angelo, first attempts of, 283 
Milman, Dean, his Histoiy of the Jews, 85 
Milton, on Education, 169; his damson Agonistes quoted, 323; his allu 

sions to himself, 329 
Modesty, 20b 
Montaigne's Essays, 315 
More, Sir Thomas, 437 
Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, 140 
Muratori, 478, 520 
Music, 80 

Neri, St. Philip, 234 

Newton, Sir Isaac, xiii., 49, 53 ; on the Apocalypse, 304; his marvellous 

powers, 324 
Newtonian philosophy, the, 49 
Noah's ark, 73 

Olympic games, the, 107 
Optics, 46 

Painting, 79 

Palestrina, 237 

Paley, 58, 449 

Palladio, 57 

Pascal, 315 

Patrick, St., greatness of his work, 15 

Periodical criticism, 333 

Persian mode of letter- writing, 277 

Pindar, 329 

Pitt, William, his opinion of Butler's Analogy, lOO 

Pius IV., Pope, death of, 237 

Plato, on poets, loi ; on music, IIO 

Playfair, Professor, 157 

Political Economy, 86 

Pompey's Pillar, 136 

Pope, Alex., quoted, 118; an indifferent Catholic, 318; has tuned our 

versification, 323 ; quoted, 375, 501 
Porson, Richard, xiv., 304 
Pride and self-respect, 207 
Private Judgment, 97 

I'rotestant argument against Transubstantiation, 95 
l^salter, the, 2S9 
Pulci, 316 
Pythagoras, xiii 

Rabelais, 315 

Raffaelle, first attempts of, 283 ; 23/ 

Jiasselas qvLOitd, 116 

inaex. 527 

Recreations not Education, 144 
Robertson, style of, 325 
Rome, 265 
Round Towers of Ireland, the, 95 

Sales, St. Francis de, on preaching, 406, 410, 4l£ 

Salmasius, 140 

Savonarola, 235 

Scott, Sir Walter, 313; his Old Mm-tality, 359 

Seneca, no, 116, 327 

Sermons of the seventeenth century, 140 

Shaftesbury, Lord, his Characteristics, 196-20 1, 204 

Shakespeare, quoted, 150 ; his Mcubeth quoted, 280 ; Ilatnlet quoted, 281 ; 

quoted, 284, 287 ; morality of, 318; quoted, 410, 513 
Simon of Tournay, narrative of, 384 
Smith, Sydney, 157 
Sophocles, 258 

Southey's Thalaba, 323 ; quoted, 324 
Sterne's Sermons, quoted, 270-272 
Stuffing birds not education, 144 
Sylvester II., Pope, accused of magic, 220 

Tarpeia, 140 

Taylor, Jeremy, his Liberty of Prophesy iir^, 472 

Terence and Menander, 259 

Tertullian, 327 

Thales, xiii. 

Theology, a branch of knowledge, 19 ; definition of, 60 

Thucydides, 259, 325, 329 

Titus, armies of, 265 

Virgil, his obligations to Greek poets, 259 ; wishes his /Eneid ournt, 2S4 ; 

fixes the character of the hexameter, 325, 329 
Voltaire, 303, 315 

Utility in Education, 161 

Watson, Bishop, on Mathematics, roc 

Wiclif, 155 

Wren, Sir Christopher, 57 

Xavier, St. Francis, 235 
Xenophon quoted, 107, 258 



8T. John's bousk. clebkenwell boad, e.c.